3D printing the future of manufacturing?

Advancements in high technology have touched nearly every aspect of personal and business life. Even the most senior industries of the American economy have come to embrace the new kid on the block, lured by the increasingly efficient and innovative manufacturing capabilities that the technology offers businesses. 3D printing is one of those innovations. Also called "additive manufacturing," 3D printing has revolutionized the industry and attracted interest from all seats of power in the economy. While businesses can focus on developing possible 3D operations, technology recruiters can focus on finding the necessary high-tech talent for firms.

Why 3D matters to manufacturing
3D printing first gained notoriety after printers were able to create plastic toys and other household objects like a cutting board. The process involves a printhead that passes over a mass of superfine material powder, distributing a binding agent in a 3D pattern it was programmed to follow.

So why does it matter to manufacturing? 3D printing is increasingly being used to produce metal products and replicate equipment, tools, parts and machinery, which businesses can either sell or use to their own purposes. It also provides manufacturers increased control over customization of the printed object.

What most businesses identify as the most attractive element of additive manufacturing are the cost-cutting opportunities in production and labor.

Feds invest money
The remarkable process has not only made converts of manufacturers looking to streamline and enhance their operation, but the entire business population: advocates, nonprofits, government officials and educators. To help businesses get recognized by the same institutions, manufacturing recruiters can aid in finding and hiring the talent to integrate 3D technology.

The federal government recently contributed $30 million to establish the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) in Youngstown, Ohio. In total, $70 million in contributions – with the rest coming from the manufacturing industry – backed the NAMII, which was tasked with developing networks of collaboration, facilitating development of technology and educating students about the process. Technology recruiters can help interested businesses vet this fresh talent.

3D printing has also been used by Boeing and General Electric to forge parts and equipment used in their processes, further legitimizing the technology. Three Pennsylvania 3D printing companies also won the first three awards offered through the state's new Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania (RAMP) grant program, which works to team up manufacturing companies and graduate students.