In the not-too-distant future, consumers will be 3D printing their own inexpensive, simple goods, such as small replacement parts. Simple objects like phone cases or plastic cases will be sold via download, while manufacturers will move to producing more complex products and focusing inventory management.
As the cost of 3D printing decreases, we will see quick-turnaround manufacturing businesses emerge, responsible for providing cheap products such as small replacement parts. 3D printing will eventually relegate traditional manufacturers to only producing highly technical and specialist products.
There is a concern that this form of manufacturing, in particular with regards to consumer goods, will fuel greater consumption and waste. But the materials used for 3D-printing these goods are mostly heat processed recyclable plastics, making it possible to create a reverse supply chain approach.
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