Industry 4.0 and 3D Printing Technology

Have you heard of Industry 4.0?


1st Industrial Revolution – Mechanisation, water power, steam power.

2nd Industrial Revolution – Mass production, assembly line, electricity.

3rd Industrial Revolution – Computers and automation.

4th Industrial Revolution – Smart factories.

Every time there’s a revolution, power and wealth changes hands.

The recipients of that power and wealth, are those who are prepared to adapt to change, ready and waiting.

Here’s a symptom of Industry 4.0 affecting your business.

Prospects ask for a quotation, you bust your butt getting one to them and then silence.

You wait until you can’t anymore and call.

“Did you get my quote?”

The reply comes,

“Sorry, we went with another company”.

You ask why. They tell you the other company was cheaper and their lead time was MUCH shorter.

Here’s a few more symptoms …

  • Clients ask for increasingly complex component designs. You have to turn them away.
  • You put ads in all the usual places for replacement staff and you get hardly any replies.
  • A long standing client visits and drops a part on your desk. Tells you it was ‘printed’ as is, no assembly required. You’re amazed. You make a few enquiries, turns out this 3D printing thing has been going on since the 1980’s. You’d always thought is was something for the tinkerers and makers. Just a tool for rapid prototyping.

3D Printing is a big component of Industry 4.0

Advances in 3D printing are sweeping in significant changes. Changes that, if you don’t adapt, will leave you in their wake, struggling to keep up.

Here’s six key areas where 3D printing will totally disrupt the manufacturing space over the next few years:

  1. True Rapid Prototyping. This capability is well established. Outdated and slower means of prototyping will leave the laggards in the dust, as other companies bring products to market, for a fraction of the cost and in a fraction of the time.
  2. Rapid Design Iteration (A/B testing of physical products) Testing out designs on markets BEFORE committing to setting up production lines, will completely change traditional product development cycles over the next few years.
  3. Low volume production. The cost, to commit to creating tooling or moulds, before a single end use part can be produced renders many a product impractical or unprofitable.
  4. Mass Customization. Starbucks proved that with customization comes premium pricing. 3D printing is making this option viable for many manufactured products.
  5. Virtual Inventory. Holding inventory is very expensive. Costs include the capital to produce the inventory, shrinkage, obsolescence, warehousing, insurance, tracking and distribution.
  6. Product Innovation. 3D printing enables pre-assembled designs that were previously impractical or too costly to be realised. Technologies like AutoDesk’s DreamCatcher can automatically generate tens, hundreds, or even thousands of design options that meet all specified high-level goals. Dreamcatcher is a goal-directed design (GDD) system that enables designers to input specific design objectives, including functional requirements, material type, manufacturability, performance criteria, and cost restrictions. The infinite computing power of the cloud then takes over.

Low Volume Production Runs

Today, for production runs of less than 1,000 items, many companies will consider 3D production as a cost effective alternative.

Virtual Inventories

Simply printing spare parts on-demand will disrupt traditional supply chain business models for years to come.

It Doesn’t Work for My Business !

You may even have had a serious look at adopting 3D printer technology. Maybe even figured it won’t work for your business.

The challenge is, you don’t know what you don’t know. You know your world, but knowing what’s important and what questions to ask BEFORE you invest in 3D printing technology is critical.

The last thing you need is to make a big investment, only to find out that you ordered a 3D printer that is not suited to for your specific application.


Here’s what you can expect…

We’ve been running a 3D printing bureau service for years. Seen all kinds of components come through our doors, from many different industries.
Our clients have expected us to make things work. To figure out the teething problems with this technology.

We know what machines are reliable, and which aren’t.

We know what materials work for each application, and which materials are still ‘experimental’.

We’ve seen which software works well for 3D printing and which doesn’t.

Bottom line: we drink our own medicine. We are not just box movers. We’ll tell you what will work and what won’t; even if that means we loose a sale.

  • We are qualified engineers. Worked in industry. We speak your language, understand your challenges. This knowledge will be applied to understanding your unique challenges and when compiling real-world, workeable recommendations for your manufacturing business.
  • It’s a paid consultation. Do with the report what you choose. We are not going to try swing you around to our equipment brands or solutions if they are not a good fit. If using a competing product makes sense, we’ll say so.



We’ll come in, unpack YOUR unique business requirements. Give you, an understandable and useable report, that you can use to decide on a way forward with 3D printing technology.

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