Thursday, 25 June 2015

Manufacturing Renaissance: Ubiquitous Instant Production (Part-VIIII)
Rapidly Manufacturing the End of Abject Material Poverty.

It makes one wonder, with such coming technological might and capabilities, what will this – let us face  – extraordinarily cleaver know-how and equipment do for people that are unlikely to ever get on RM lean material aeroplane. What could RM do for poverty? Well here is just one of many ideas.

When ultra low-cost portable 3DPs – they are coming  – that are solar/wind/battery-powered, and then sold in emerging economies; especially within regions that have little means to production, the machines will not only save 100s of millions of innocent people’s lives every year, it will be an enabling technology that can take literally billions people at the bottom of the economic pyramid beyond subsistence, and into a position where they can build their lives.

Such a GigaProduct would need to be designed to work reliably, durably, with ease-of-use and ease-of-maintenance; capable of being dragged, kicked, dropped and vibrated through all the kinds of terrain, ambient elevated temperatures, extreme humidity, dust storms, torrential rain, flooding and mud often in war torn quite angry environments, and still work. The so-called LifeMaker system will need an inbuilt computer that stores embedded SLA files that can encode for geometries such as basic building tools and functional structures. Input feedstock will have range across ultra-strong, super-tough, flexible and all weathers resistant.

As you will read in chapter-20, RM is not merely about manufacturing performance per say, there is tremendous potential to relieve poverty at the bottom of the fiscal pyramid. Where billions of people crave for tools that can enable them to climb out of such dearth. The demand here will be quite literally 100s of millions of units worldwide.

Clearly, today, the cost of personal desktop 3DP systems are prohibitive for the poor. But again in chapter-21 I will outline a company called Opens Source Ecology that are beavering away at bringing about such 3DPs and other get out the hole tools at a price-performance the bottom of the pyramid might just well access. Much more in C20!

RM GigaMarket Potential.

Clearly, the additive RM 3DP paradigm is an exceptionally rare kind of innovation. A MetaInnovation, I would say. One that enables the creation of fundamentally new business models, bring to life products that would have been impossible in the past, or services that are wholly unique, or indeed, entire mew markets that have not existed before. Such MetaInnovations also enable the transformation and renewal of incumbent industries; which ultimatly has a positive-sum affect on economies at-large. As a result, the RM 3DP paradigm is set to explode GigaMarkets on an untold scale. But what is afoot and beyond?

One prized voice in this respect is Terry Wohlers: Don of rapid product development and advanced manufacturing performance taken as a whole. He is President of Wohlers Associates, Inc., an independent consulting firm founded almost 30 years ago. In 2007, more than 1,000 industry professionals from around the world selected Wohlers as the #1 most influential person in rapid product development and additive manufacturing. In the Wohlers Report 2012 he forecast that RM industry will reach $3.1 Billion Worldwide by 2016; and recently reported that the markets will surge to $10.8 billion by 2021 from $2.2 billion last year.

In a McKinsey Global Institute Report, Disruptive Technologies: Advances that will Transform Life, Business, and the Global Economy,’ by ~2025 the research forecasts the total global size to be amid $230 billion and $550 billion per annum for the actual RM tools and materials themselves. The market for complex, low-volume, highly customizable parts, could be $770 billion by then. It also considers the consumer purchase of 3D printing kit which could run between $100 billion to $300 billion through the benefit of significant reduced cost and the value of customisation.

But what I like most about the report is that McKinsey includes the value of the actual enabling capabilities and outputs: the revolutionary innovative business models, the breakthrough product concepts and original services that will be made by this advanced kit. Global sales emanating from the RM paradigm is set to reach $4-trillion in sales by 2025. And gauged from the day Chuck Hull  lunched his Stereolithography machine, this will have taken a mere 35 years: 0-to-4 trillion-in-35y! Indeed, such a MetaInnovation is very rare.

Hence, the new Manufacturing Renaissance, driven in part by RM will not merely mean multiple new GigaMarkets, but thousands of GigaMarkets amounting to TeraIndustries with high-end GigaProfits.

The Rapid Manufacturing Arms Race and Global Economic Competition.

It might be clear now that both Advanced and Emerging Rapid Manufacturing Technology is the next competitive weapon not just in manufacturing, but also performance innovation in services, education, healthcare, and host of other industries. But the one musing issue is the burgeoning RM competition between the rapidly emerging nations and the titan, yet mature EU and US.

For a start, American creativity, ingenuity and the exploitation advanced RM technology worries China. The adoption of RM on the scale the Chinese could muster must worry the US as well. The Chinese are waking up to RM as a threat to its manufacturing capabilities. Because the US are not only tinkering with the idea of combing back manufacturing to the United States to achieve close to the customer advantages, the Yanks are already on the ground and running.

In response to this face off, China has at least 4 dedicated RM R&D centres in the cities of Beijing, Huazhong, Tsinghua and Xi’an. The Asian Manufacturing Association announced a in May 2013 that they will invest 200 million yuan (~$33 million) in deploying RM centres across China.

But I must say that it is, under the giant competitive context of China versus US, easy to forget the emerging nations. India now has the beginnings of an automotive industry, what with Tata Motor’s headquarters and India’s F1 Sahara Force team. RM in India is a small market, but rearing its head. Israeli RM printer maker Objet recently married American Stratasys, making a market cap of $3 billion. And the deal in Brazil with Compass RM offering Stratasys systems tells that the Latino advanced manufacturing genie is out of the bottle.

As for Europe, the future of prosperity will not only be built around high-technology GigaIndustries or as-yet-undiscovered countries; but by also strengthening its traditional powerhouse: manufacturing. This is not just my belief, but of the European Commission, which has nominated ‘Industrial Policy’ as its EU2020 flagship initiative to enhance European competitiveness (re chapter-11).

Emerging and Advanced Rapid Manufacturing mirrors the new European Industrial Policy’s dual focus on promoting both innovative production processes and products. In terms of production, actions to facilitate coordination of global value chains in key sectors such as materials, chemicals are essential, a fact recognised in the Industrial Policy. Hence the dislocation and flexible production of RM is an instrumental partner.

Considering the contents of this chapter alone, if what I say is the case - and it is - the potential market and impact for RM goes way beyond any one could reliably and reasonably forecast right now. And that works on three levels:

First, at this level, the Industrial Renaissance is about the ongoing success and growth of the RM Industry. About an extraordinary innovative industry, with many exciting and increasingly novel additive RM systems and materials in the pipeline. About the capability to rapidly produce Escher-like geometric structures giving astonishing component performance. The unleashing of the super-enhanced ability to design counterintuitive morphologies that break long held engineering rules. Concerning highly efficient, greener designs with near-zero waste material. It is about the fact that the RM industry has become an a hypercompetitive international GigaMarket in the blink of an eye. And it is about the fact that today a clear exponential market and technological growth path can be empirically drawn right out to a projected 4-trillion dollar synthesis within another 15 years. Astonishing!

Second, RM, at all levels, is one of the most potent enabling, inspiring and energizing commercial innovation freedom fighters there is today. Now unleashing 10s of thousands of start-ups in the US and EU as I write. A power to open the space of innovation possibilites far beyond the potency of even the most deft supercomputing graphical modelling software. As the above makes clear, RM enables enigmatic business models thought impossible 10 years ago; igniting first to the world markets and industries, built on a shoestring. It makes it possible for the single-minded start-up entrepreneur to make her dreams come true and ignite as yet untold new and exciting careers for people. It enables businesses to start and build RM robots that automatically build quality, affordable homes a in remote rural out-backs.

But the third level, after all is said and done, is the most significant of all. Head-to-head multiway, international competition between nation-states developing and applying RM technologies to ramping-up manufacturing productivity, will be one of the hottest economics bouts of the 21st century. Think about it!

The winners will be the nations that (1) scaffold investment at a proportion to maintain competitive RM breakthroughs; (2) support the application of inventmeant to the most astute and shrewd RM R&D programmes; (3) encourage the commercialisation of new RM technologies at a magnitude above international competition; (4) incentivize and expedite the application of the technology in home markets directly and efficiently; (5) paradoxically promote the export of new RM equipment, (6) be strategic enough to have RM technologies waiting in the wings that will continue to disrupt global markets and give home advantage; and (7) campaign and incentivize a national moon shot programme that can truly achieve instant production technology.


Because the nation that achieves all seven goals on a sustainable basis, will not only be the country with the most advanced and innovative RM technology - with all the commercial and productive economic benefits that come with it - it will be that nation that will be responsibility for ultimatly and finally ridding this plant of abject material poverty forever. Go figure!
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