President Obama has welcomed 3D printing as way of revolutionizing the manufacturing sector and creating jobs in today’s economic recovery. In his speech at the state of the union address, the president lauded the innovativeness in 3D printing. In the same breath, he announced the launching of 3 more 3D manufacturing hubs besides the already functional one in Youngstown Ohio.
The once shattered warehouse in Ohio has been turned into an advanced laboratory specializing in this new way of manufacturing and creating jobs at the same time. Further, he announced the partnering of the departments of energy and defense with businesses in order to turn technologically stunted cities into hubs for high-tech jobs. The president urged the congress to help in the creation of a network of 15 such hubs to spark the 3D printing revolution in America by accentuating to the proposed funding.
President Obama proposed a one billion dollar funding for the national additive manufacturing innovative institute (NAMII) aimed at bolstering the efforts being put into development of this industry. 3D printing has in some quarters been referred to as the second industrial revolution due to its completely new way of manufacturing. Furthermore NAMII got a boost of 30 million dollars from the department of defense. This is beside the consortium of big companies filing in to support the institute. Big corporations and universities such as Boeing, Carnegie Mellon university, IBM and NASA are expected to offer a lot of support.
Why prioritize 3D printing?
3D printing encourages excellence and innovativeness in designing. Besides enabling smart production of customizable manufactured to exact specification, this new technology offers an opportunity for fast and effective manufacturing of life changing products for the global market place. This is the reason behind its prioritization in Obama’s final term in the Whitehouse. However, despite the enthusiasm that has accompanied 3D printing, there are still a myriad hurdles to be jumped before it can be fully embraced. Among issues surrounding this technology is that it has not been able to hatch yet despite its basis of prototype practicality. Building 3D models is not easy as they have to be designed layer by layer from the original model. This drastically increases the time taken to print objects.
The technology is also very expensive. The existence of NAMII is only as a result of the huge grants from the department of defense. Creating a network of such facilities across America will surely require a lot more government funding and involvement from big tech firms which may not pay off in the short term. Another downturn to this revolution is the fact that partnerships that are needed to get the industry on its feet require a long time to take place even when the government is involved, this could heavily lag the industry’s progress.
If these hurdles can be jumped, then the future of 3D printing is bright. Given the necessary support from the Obama administration and the several multi-nationals buying in, it is set for a takeoff. Lately 3D printing related stocks have raised due to the positive prospects of the industry. The future is clearly set on a lot more job creation not only in America but also globally as preparations for a 3D revolution take place.