Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company has published an article on the impact of 3D Printing on the metals industry in which they highlight 4 key ways the technology will change the industry.
The main benefits of 3-D printing are a shorter value chain, cost and time reductions through elimination of assembly steps, greater customization and design freedom, and minimal waste. But the technology still has significant challenges to overcome. These include the high costs of metal powder and 3-D printers for large-scale production, as well as significant constraints on the dimensions of printed parts. Additionally, most printers cannot mix materials within one item. However, R&D activities by corporations and academics are rapidly addressing these limitations.