Emerging Technologies in Transportation Casebook/3D Printing/Indirect effects

  • Smart adapters of 3D printing technology will create small, modular, and agile cells in order to relieve logistical planning and costs.  These cells may be brought down to the lowest neighborhood retail level, so that true "Just-in-time" supply is available.  Additionally, companies have the option to “On-shore” their logistical chains now, and at a bargain price.  A majority of 3D adopters will likely focus on urban basing for their cells, with the most expensive, largest, and highest-end equipment only being reserved for major regional setups.  This will reduce traffic through decreased routes, increased hubs, and will reduce the need for warehouses and transportation while creating a less centralized network that responds to a software system. This is similar to those currently in use which keep track of inventory and stock in stores and online in real time, but with automated ability to produce items needed.[1][2][3]
  • Medical applications and biometrics are also advancing; critical things like the ability to print human organs are in development right now. If successful, a hospital or clinic could create them on-site instead of expending tremendous resources transporting them in. Given the need for donor organs and the waiting list, this will allow many people who otherwise couldn’t get an organ to get the lifesaving surgery they need.[4] Medical supply printing, for items such as PPE or pharmaceuticals, is also a forthcoming capability but will require greater hospital involvement—a hospital which invests in a dedicated print lab would have a scalable capability to respond at a local level to pandemics and emergent situations, and quality scanning equipment will make available intensively personalized equipment.[5]
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