This post is part of our 3D Printing Influencer Series series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
1. What are the top trends you have noticed in 3D Printing?
AR: We are firmly at an inflection point in the evolution of technology towards greater speed and materials performance which is powering a decisive shift from rapid prototyping firmly to the manufacturing floor.
2. What applications for 3D Printing make it a game changer in the tech sphere?
AR: 3D printing is an unstoppable force that is bound to disrupt and transform many industries and democratize access for the future digital craftman/woman. Game changing application will include significant lightweighting of structural parts for aerospace and automotive that deliver real material and energy savings, medical implants and bio-printed organs that save and extend life, the future of low income and urbane as well as disaster relief habitat, the future of personalized pharma and nutrition.
3. What is, in your opinion, the industry in which 3D Printing has the greatest disruptive impact?
AR: At the moment it's clearly personalized healthcare starting with digital dentistry and orthopedic and maxillofacial implants and quickly into bio printing. Tomorrow tool-less manufacturing for automotive and supply chain as we know it. In a decade it will be ubiquitous in industry, architecture, education, and the engine behind a new generation of digital artisanry.
4. Would you say that the 3D Printing industry is evolving as rapidly as you anticipated, less rapidly, or about as expected? What makes you say this?
✅ Like most deceptive technologies that are exponential in nature, 3D printing is evolving at breakneck speed with more disruption and innovation happening in the past 5 years than the previous 25 years.
It is aided by the convergence of other exponential technologies like infinite computing in the cloud, sensoring, deep learning and AI, and turbo charged by generative design and topology optimization.
Add to that the influx of venture capital and newly minted privately held unicorns and I would say that we are in the beginning of a most exciting chapter for 3D printing in which it transitions from its linear deceptive stage into it exponential explosive stage.
5. What do you see as the most difficult-to-overcome limitations for 3D Printing?
AR: The most challenging limitations to date have been the achievement of convincing production speeds at scale and accuracy with engineered plastics and metals. I believe that these problems are being addressed head on by several leading players including Carbon, Desktop Metal, XJet and our very own Nexa3D.
6. What’s the future of 3D Printing?
AR: 3D printing is an unstoppable force of mainly positive disruption that is on a course to transform complete industries. It is already altering how we learn, create and make, the speed in which we design, prototype and manufacture, and now with the advent of super speed super materials and electrification of geometries it is certain to become a key enabler in delivering the connected world that is estimated to be powered by some 50 billion connected devices within the next 5 years. I view additive manufacturing as one of the most important general purpose technologies of the 21st century.
About Avi Reichental
Avi Reichental is one of the world’s leading authorities on 3D printing and exponential tech convergence. He is founder, chairman, and CEO of XponentialWorks, an advisory, venture investment, and product development company. Reichental is also a general partner at OurCrowd’s Cognitiv venture fund for AI, robotics and digital manufacturing startups. His acclaimed TED talk about the future of 3D printing has garnered more than 2.5 million views.