Direct Digital Manufacturing
Who would have guessed forty years ago that the internet would be as important as it is today. Direct digital manufacturing could be able to run through the same story of success. The purpose of this essay is to identify in which way direct digital manufacturing (DDM) changes the demand of logistics services and in what extent new markets for logisticians will develop. The paper will start by briefly explaining direct digital manufacturing. Implications and prospects for logistics companies will be discussed on the followings. With the help of these facts it can be shown how logistics companies have to change their attitude to be successful in the future.
Printing documents on a laser printer is a quite common case and nearly every family has a printer at home. However, printing real goods or merchandise probably sounds for the most of us more like a science fiction movie than an existing fact. Nevertheless, printing parts is possible with the help of 3D printers (The Economist, 2011). This process is called direct digital manufacturing, rapid manufacturing (RM) or fabbing. The required gadgets exist already more than 20 years (Reeves, 2008). But in the past mainly prototypes were produced with help of these printers (Christopher, 2011, p.267). Through the continuous development of the technology today it is possible to print also final products (Reeves, 2008). Therefor, a digital document, representing the product which should be printed, is required. Secondly, the document needs to be sent to the printer. Thirdly, the gadget divides the product in layers and calculates the movements for the print head (Reeves, 2008). Finally the product becomes printed layer by layer almost without any waste (Excell and Nathan, 2010). Metal, resin, ceramics and plastic are the main materials which can be currently used to print simple objects (The Economist 2011, 2.). However, the development is in no case completed. Expectations assume that the gadgets will be able to print complex end-use products including all technical elements in several years (Reeves, 2008). Furthermore, declining prices of the printers led to an increasing number of buyers (Smock, 2010, p.49). Accordingly, also the amount of private users rises. The interesting question is what will happen to the logistics sector if everybody has its own printer at home.
- Quote paper
- MSc International Business Management with Logistics Thomas Bauer (Author), 2011, How is Direct Digital Manufacturing likely to affect the nature and level of demand for logistics services?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/205710