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Kathy Henderson
Kathy Henderson

By Kathy Henderson, Director of Economic Development, CCEDC

An article in my recent Area Development Site & Facility Planning Insider
newsletter talked about the rising use of 3D printing in manufacturing and healthcare.

In 2019, the global industrial 3D printing market size was $10.41 billion which sounds like a lot of money however this market is projected to reach $54.96 billion by 2027 according to Fortune Business Insights.

The adoption of 3D printing by numerous industries including defense, aerospace, automotive and even healthcare is what is driving the dramatic increase especially during the pandemic. “It has enabled companies to use the technology across multiple devices” according to the Fortune market analysis.

The other benefit to the acceleration of 3D printing will advance the potential for more regional and distributed manufacturing. This means that products can be made where they are needed and not require shipping items long distances. Large production hubs could be replaced by thousands of smaller factories across the globe. By as early as 2022 the best manufacturing locations could be regional or local rather than global. The result of this would be a supply chain that is no longer big, complex and global.

It would reduce the time and method of distributing products to the end user resulting in lower delivery costs, faster delivery times, less trucks on the roads and less air pollution. In addition, less reliance on shipping products from overseas which was and continues to be a problem at our seaports.

One of the good things that this pandemic has taught us is that to be resilient supply chains must become more localized to enable companies to minimize disruptions especially since events such as COVID 19 are likely to happen again. It may not be feasible from a business continuity standpoint to supply several locations from one central facility anymore. Manufacturers should consider locating facilities closer to their markets even if they don’t utilize 3D manufacturing. Creating more jobs closer to home is always a good thing.