IBM Sees 3D Printing Changing Manufacturing
Kyle Maxey posted on March 21, 2013 |

IBM, consumers, technology, robotics, electronics, keynoteIBM’s Paul Brody, the global industry leader for electronics at IBM, believes that three things are set to change the way products are designed and manufactured.

In a keynote speech delivered at the Siemens PLM Innovation Conference, Brody acknowledged that open source electronics, intelligent robotics and… wait for it… 3D printing are technologies that will have a disruptive impact on the way companies design and produce products.

In his speech, Brody says “3D Printing is rapidly achieving levels of performance required to be production-ready.” He continues, “At lower volumes, unit costs are competitive with machining and plastic injection molding.”

With open-source CAD software becoming more advanced and accessible, Brody sees the development of a consumer-class that not only wants to become part of a company’s design process, but one that is also capable of making substantial contribution to a company’s design ecosystem. To back up this claim, Brody references an IBM survey. “80% of consumers told IBM… that they are willing to help enterprises develop their products.” Brody then warns, “Accept their help, or see them build your competition on Kickstarter.”

While one may not be able to directly correlate the rise of consumer-class 3D printing to this new trend in product development, I do wonder whether the empowerment that people find in producing their own designs has fueled this dramatic shift towards customer-driven design?

You can find Brody’s great Keynote here

Image Courtesy of IBM

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