3D printing overcomes the limitations of conventional production methods and brings an almost unrestricted freedom to the processes involved in industrial design. This enables even complex structures to be manufactured based on biological models. Besides the aviation industry, 3D printing is currently chiefly used in tool and prototype manufacturing as well as in medical technology. This acquired flexibility also has consequences for global production networks. For example, a printer could print dashboard panels one day and sport shoes the next.
All that’s necessary is for the CAD data and material to be exchanged. In future, it will be worth the while of people working in spare parts logistics to consider simply sending construction data and raw materials to a local 3D printer instead of supplying component parts.