Gartner sees a big future for 3-D printing supplies and services

There are a lot of companies, analysts, and researchers who believe 3-D printing technology is going to be huge in the future. 3-D printers use various forms of media to print 3-D physical objects that you can hold and use for various tasks. Research firm Gartner recently issued a report claiming that early adopters of 3-D printing technology could gain an innovation advantage over rival firms.

Gartner says that enterprises should begin experimenting with 3-D printing technology as a way to improve traditional product design and prototyping. Gartner sees 3-D printing as having the potential to allow for the creation of new product lines and markets. The company also believes that 3-D printing will be available to consumers via kiosks and print shop style services creating new opportunities for retailers.

Cheaper 3-D printers will lower the cost of entry into manufacturing in the same way that e-commerce lower the barriers to the selling of items according to Gartner. The company believes that 3-D printer technology will move from the niche markets to broader acceptance thereby reducing the price of 3-D printing devices. According to Gartner, by 2016 enterprise class 3-D printers will be available for under $2,000.

“We see 3D printing as a tool for empowerment, already enabling life-changing parts and products to be built in struggling countries, helping rebuild crisis-hit areas and leading to the democratization of manufacturing,” said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner.

Gartner sees a future with multinational retailers supplying consumers and making money by selling printers and print supplies as well as individual 3-D printed pieces. Another possible way to make money with 3-D printing technology would be roving display vans that visit a retailer store where consumers can order customized 3-D items while they shop.

Source: Gartner

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