Monday, November 26, 2012

McKinsey--"Manufacturing the Future: The next Era of Global Growth and Innovation (DDD; SSYS

Gentle reader is probably sick-unto-death of me quoting myself:

Why do I think the next secular bull market will be based on some combination 
of materials science, advanced manufacturing and nanotechnology...

But I've been doing it for the last three years and it's worn a groove in the neurons so expect no respite.
3D Systems is up 10% today on no news, Stratasys is up 7.4%. DJIA down 80.

Hat Tip up front: The Economist:
The new maker rules

“YOU can carry your own head in your hand,” enthuses Bre Pettis, inviting customers to try out a three-dimensional photo booth that will scan their head and then print a miniature plastic version of it as a solid object. This is useful, no doubt, for those about to audition for the role of Zaphod Beeblebrox in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.

Mr Pettis, the founder of MakerBot, a maker of low-cost 3D printers, spoke at the opening of his firm’s first retail store on November 20th in New York. It will sell desktop MakerBots, which make things out of plastic, for just $2,200. It is still early days, but MakerBots and machines like them are “empowering people to make the things they want, rather than buy them from factories,” says Mr Pettis.

Certainly 3D printing is hot. Some firms are already using the technology, which is also known as additive manufacturing because it involves building up material layer by layer. It can be used to make such things as prototype cars, hearing aids, customised dolls and medical implants. On the same day that Mr Pettis opened his store, GE announced it had bought for an undisclosed sum Morris Technologies, a Cincinnati firm that uses industrial 3D printers (which cost $500,000 or more) to print objects for engineers. Morris will be printing metal parts for a new GE jet engine.

Yet 3D printing is just one of many production technologies and trends which are transforming the way companies will be able to make things in the future. The old rules of manufacturing, such as “you must seek economies of scale” and “you must reduce unit-labour costs”, are being cast aside. New machines can print every item differently. More flexible robots are getting cheaper and better at doing all the boring and dirty stuff....MORE
Here's the McKinsey report announcement.
 (184 page PDF)

The MakerBot stuff is not what we are looking at, right now the hotspot is DARPA:

"DARPA Wants Robotics to Rise to the Challenge of Disasters"
DARPA Symposium: The Implications of Space Aliens For Religions
More Than You May Want to Know About Why DARPA's Factory of the Future is Open Source
DARPA and Smart Dust 
Dear White Collar Criminals: "DARPA's Shredder Challenge has been solved" (All Your Shreds Are Belong to Us)
DARPA Scramjet hits ludicrous speed
"A flying Humvee? Don't scoff, Pentagon wants one" (UTX)