To 3D Systems CEO, Avi Reichental, who kicked off Media Bistro's Inside 3-D Printing Conference and Expo in NYC yesterday, the rise of 3-D printing signals many things.
It is disrupting the mass production model, for example, "turning the economy of scale on its head" in the process. It is transforming manufacturing and design by helping companies develop new products faster and in forms never before imagined or possible. It is increasing quality and complexity of finished goods and attracting a whole new generation of manufacturers to the industry.
But the most significant impact, he said, is the democratization of manufacturing, which he believes marks the return of production and making power to local experts - to the craftsmen with the creative power to change the world. "
GE is using 3-D printing to manufacture some of the most lightweight and efficient aircraft engines ever made," he noted. "That's good for GE. But you'd expect big companies like GE to do this."
"What's even better," he added," is that the same capability is also available to startups."