Manufacturing to the economy of the United Kingdom is worth £213 billion, whilst simultaneously representing 11% of the total country’s economy. It is both in the interest of the United Kingdom’s government and individual manufacturing business that these figures continue to increase. For this to happen, there are a range of opportunities waiting to be exploited, ranging from 3D printing, green technologies, even to nanotechnology. By deciding which of these will present the best opportunity to the economy, will travel a long way to determining whether the desired increase of the value of manufacturing in the United Kingdom is achieved. 3D printing is a large opportunity to the economy of the United Kingdom for many separate reasons, ranging from availability to saving money. To begin with, 3D printing can be used to create almost anything, the way technology is advancing, we do not know exactly how far this will take us as a manufacturing country. Through the fact of greater possibilities on creation, this can open the country up to new business as this may generate new products others have yet to create.
From this, unique selling points can be made which would only further the manufacturing industry as a whole, to create a larger market share and to therefore operate at a higher representing percentage of the economy. Though this is in fact a major aspect to the manufacturing industry as if this were to in fact increase in size, then many businesses may transfer to this method which can cease to damage the reputation a business may have held for their impeccable quality, in turn decreasing the value of businesses and then the industry as a whole. Secondly, there is the aspect of simplicity; businesses would be able to create their products at a cheaper basis as there would not be the need to pay for manual labour though rather to be able to invest in as many printers as would be deemed necessary, which would then be used to create the same products as beforehand though at a much lower cost overall although to start with it would not be seen as such, though once the investment has paid off, it is likely that savings will be made.
For example, 3D printing has been used to create prosthetic limbs which can be created much cheaper through the use of this system and on a mass scale and at a lower cost that will then mean they are more readily available to those that are in need which would not only boost the manufacturing economy, though also the overall economy of the United Kingdom. Though on the other hand, this method of 3D printing may instead harm the economy and the manufacturing industry of the United Kingdom as the cheap printing could decrease the value and demand for products as they do not possess the same unique selling point they previously had. Distinctively, there are then also a number of reasons as to why 3D printing would not be seen as the most important opportunity facing manufacturers in the United Kingdom, this can range from the process being problematic to the slow process of printing.
Firstly, to examine the fact that 3D printing can be just as problematic as any other form of technology would be reason enough to suggest that this is not the biggest opportunity. If this were to be taken on as the main form of production to many manufacturing businesses then when problems do arise, this will distress the entire industry as customers and contractors can lose faith in the manufacturer at hand which will then mean a loss of custom, reducing the percentage share even further. Problems from this form of printing can include simplicities such as ‘jamming’, if a printer were to slow production through this problem arising then the business would not be able to create these products ready for sale, which can as stated previously cause customers to lose faith in the brand which will then harm the manufacturing industry as a whole for the United Kingdom as these customers can take their business elsewhere, from countries that have a better ‘track record’, that may use different technology over 3D printing without the impending possibilities of the printer ‘jamming’.
Secondly, there is then the fact that only small quantities will be printed, until further technology is created, which is unlikely to arise within the near future, there is only success to the printers that… In conclusion, though 3D printing does open numerous metaphorical doors to the manufacturing industry within the United Kingdom, the disadvantages are likely to outweigh the advantages that can be assessed. 3D printing is a new sign of technology to the world which has two separate things to say; one, this has not had the appropriate time to be fully tested, there have not been tests concluded that can assess whether these the products that can be created are going to last.
Prosthetics have only recently been generated for medical purposes and so it cannot be said whether or not they will last in the long term, or whether serious complications could arise which would therefore be seen as a serious setback for the manufacturing aspect of the economy as if businesses were to take this on as their main form of creation, which if it were to go up in ‘smoke’ then many business would lose a great deal of their profit and possibly their business as a whole as the funds that have been pushed into purchasing and stocking the machines that would then create possible bankruptcy, and in turn reducing both the size of the manufacturing to the United Kingdom’s economy and the percentage of the total manufacturing the country already possesses.
Two, the same way this technology came about, the fact that technology is always changing leads us to believe that it is unrealistic to stack all of the metaphorical eggs into one basket. In this case, to accept 3D printing as the most important opportunity facing manufacturers in the United Kingdom as this could be a flux, something that will not stay at its prime for as long as anticipated. The way technology is advancing means that over the years, new technology may be created which will triumph over 3D printing. As stated previously, this can therefore damage the manufacturing industry as all of these metaphorical eggs are being used on this aspect rather than waiting for something new to arise.