Recently, there has been a tremendous amount of interest in 3D printing technology. As interest in this new technology grows, the effect that it could have on the future of commercial real estate is also being examined.
In order to determine the potential impact that 3D printing technology could have on the commercial real estate industry, it is important to examine exactly what is involved in this new technology. With this form of printing, physical items are produced from digital data. There are now numerous systems available on the market that range from desktop printers to larger, more advanced systems. 3D printing was first developed by Charles Hull in 1984 when he began to experiment with the use of printing materials. Hull later founded 3D Systems.
This type of technology can be applied across numerous industries and can impact everything from engineering to design. In addition, 3D printing has the potential to transform the future of commercial real estate, particularly in regard to the industrial sector.
In the past, it was necessary to produce a large amount of products in various types and sizes. Those products would then need to be stored in a warehouse while waiting for a customer order. Today, thanks to the benefits offered by 3D printing technology, it is possible for companies to create a product that is customized for the needs of each customer. There is no longer a need to actually produce anything until the order is actually submitted. As a result, all that companies must store are the raw materials necessary for producing products. Consequently, this transformation will significantly decrease warehousing demand and distribution channels.
In many ways, the transformation that we are seeing within the industrial sector due to the impact of 3D printing technology is not unlike the changes that occurred with the introduction of the assembly line. Just a few of the benefits that 3D printing technology could introduce in the US include:
· A return of manufacturing to the United States
· More customized products
· No need to sell leftover products at a discount, thereby reducing waste
In addition, 3D technology will make it much easier for individuals who have a new product or idea to get it to market, thereby increasing opportunities for innovation. This could also result in a surge of startups that will need new office space.
While the introduction of 3D technology will certainly provide numerous benefits to the commercial real estate industry, it is important to be aware that there are potential downsides, as well. One of those potential disadvantages is that brick and mortar retail stores could be impacted due to the fact that consumers may not need to try out products in a retail setting as much.
Precisely how 3D printing will continue to impact the commercial real estate industry remains to be seen. It is expected that the largest effects may not arrive for another decade. Staying on top of the latest CRE news reports can ensure that you are prepared for any changes that may take place.
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