7 Ways that 3D Printing Could Change Office Life As We Know It

3D printing - image courtesy Printrbot (Flickr)


The ever-advancing capabilities of 3D printing mean such machines are making their way into offices of all sizes from a wide range of different industries. It is anticipated that the technology could change many aspects and disciplines of office life.

Here, we explore how your office may be revolutionised by the implementation of 3D printing technology.

1. Digital Delivery

Widespread implementation of 3D printers in homes and offices could see manufacturers selling programmes and files for creating their products rather than the physical product. This could immediately cut delivery times as the necessary info is sent digitally.

Digital delivery could support a more fluid approach to stocking the office with essential items and stationery supplies. Rather than bulk ordering files and folders which just gather dust in the stationery cupboard, these items can be bought as and when they are needed – controlling expenditure more tightly.

2. Increased Customisation

The potential of 3D printing technology means that offices can customise items to their specific requirements and brand guidelines. Rather than trying to adapt existing goods to the requirements of the office, dedicated staff can customise goods and print out accordingly.

A spokesperson from Printerland explains: “We have seen already that 3D printing is limited only by the imagination of the user. The technology has proven to offer incredible solutions to a wide range of different office-based problems.”

3. Limiting Storage

Offices managing a stock room or storage unit may be able to completely remove or significantly limit the requirement of additional storage. Cutting costs can improve profitability and streamline accounts significantly. Saving on leasing, utilities, staffing and security – an office benefitting from 3D printing technology can pass savings onto customers, immediately improving competitiveness.

4. Lower Costs

Without the need to pay for packaging, delivery and storage, the overall costs of production for inbound and outbound products could fall significantly. Keeping the accountants happy, offices could develop into a self-sufficient and productive hub handling every aspect of the business from research to design to production to sales – cutting costs at every turn.

5. Green Credentials

By removing packaging and taking delivery vans off the road, 3D printing could hugely benefit the environment and help the company meet any green targets. This could further benefit the office as the Government offers a number of financial incentives for companies who meet strict environmental targets – potentially earning the office a significant windfall.

6. Specialist Employees

Until 3D printing becomes as simple as current paper and card printing with ‘click n print’ functionality, the office may have to employ specialists so the team can make the most of the new technology.

For those looking to make themselves more employable in the coming years with a helpful addition to the curriculum vitae, some companies are offering 3D printing tutorial courses. Shapeways is one example. This skill may be the new ‘computer literate’: a skill which is highly-desire by progressive employers.

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7. Office Snacks

Although the majority of 3D prints will consist of specialist resin, students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a method of 3D printing ice cream. In the future, an office 3D printer could replace the canteen with employees able to print out their lunch or snack. The potential for 3D printed food may be limitless – with 3D pizza already produced and Heston Blumenthal surely looking to get in on the act.

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