Industry  |  Publications  |  10.03.2014

3D Printing – Risks and Opportunities

The news of a 3D printed pistol which was produced and fired by a student in the United States made the public aware of this innovative technology and the possibilities 3D printing offers. In this context, the Greens/EFA Group commissioned a study to the Oeko-Institut to analyse the current state of play and potential future development of 3D printing in more detail.

The main objectives of the study are:

• to evaluate the current state of play and future developments
• to identify potential risks and opportunities
• to analyse potential changes in manufacturing sectors and people’s life
• to identify relevant EU legislation which might be affected by 3D printing.

This report focuses more on giving an overview and on the evaluation of available literature, and it does not include extensive own research. The present report provides information and text from selected literature and own assessments of the Oeko-Institut.

The Oeko-Institut’s report contains a short summary of the status-quo of 3D printing including technological aspects and current applications. It follows an evaluation of future developments which includes opportunities and potential benefits as well as risks and challenges. Thereby also legal and environmental aspects are taken into account. In light of the enormous development and possibilities of 3D printing a large number of studies, reports and articles are already available. Many of them focus on the huge potential of (future) applications and on technical aspects. Others provide a good overview of the current status of 3D printing. Considering this study’s limited possibilities the Oeko-Insititut’s work focuses on aspects which so far have not been adequately taken into account.

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