From printing human body parts, to handguns to food, three dimensional printing or 3D printing has reached an inflection point, edging into mainstream manufacturing and the consumer market. This trend is being driven by a convergence of increased technology sophistication, lower equipment costs and far greater diversification of 3D-printable materials. The 3D printing market is expected to quadruple over the next decade to US$12 billion, moving from just creating prototypes to manufacturing the most complex of production parts for the energy industry.
Over the next decade, technology observers predict that 3D printing will permeate the enterprise as a mainstream digital capability. By taking steps now to understand how to leverage this technology, oil and gas companies will be positioned to disrupt their existing markets and penetrate new ones. By integrating 3D printing into the fabric of their operations, they will be able to transform the effectiveness of upstream supply chains, as well as bring new markets and new sources of revenue to their downstream businesses.
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