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Future of 3D printing is taking shape

Updated: 2014-11-11 12:46
By Lian Zi in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

Future of 3D printing is taking shape

Luo Jun, secretary-general of The World 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, invites audiences to attend the 2015 World 3D Printing Technology Industry Conference and Exhibition in Chengdu at the end of the The World 3D Printing Technology Industry American Summit in San Francisco on Monday. Lian Zi / China Daily

Though it was born 30 years ago, 3D printing is something right out of the future, and it is already affecting our day-to-day lives.

"3D Printing has a very bright future," said Jack Zhou, a professor at Drexel University and the vice-chairman of the World 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance. "The problem is how to use and develop it."

The World 3D Printing Technology Industry American Summit was held in San Francisco on Nov 9-10. Hosted by World 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, the event attracted experts and enterprise representatives from the US, UK, China, Israel and other countries to discuss the latest trends in the development of 3D printing technology and explore solutions to overcoming the challenges it now faces.

"This summit provided us a great opportunity to meet our counterparts in other countries and see whether there is any opportunity for further collaboration," said Almco consultant John Oney, who presented his company's latest products and hunted for investors at the gathering.

Even though 3D printing has already started to touch everyday life and its future is expected to blossom in next three to five years, it has yet to be well accepted by the market, especially in China, said Luo Jun, secretary general of the World 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance.

Luo said the technology in China still lagged behind other countries, such as the US and UK, and the lack of a mature business model was to blame. "The business model is too simple right now," he said.

Even though Western countries have advantages in technology development, they often forget to pay enough attention to creating a comprehensive business model by combining 3D printing with use of the Internet, ITO, big data, cloud computing, robotics and other advanced technologies.

Luo said that next year the alliance would open a new headquarters in Silicon Valley with an incubator and R&D center.

"Silicon Valley is a great innovation and investment environment," said Luo. "We want to establish a new platform to help more local US startups continue their development of 3D printing technology."

Luo said they also want to educate local enterprises about advanced 3D printing technology and the expansion of its applications.

"Education is hugely needed since many manufacturers still don't know about the application process," said Oney. "It is important to reach out to mainstream manufacturers and let them know how this new technology can be used."

At the end of the event, Luo invited everyone to attend the 2015 World 3D Printing Technology Industry Conference and Exhibition in Chengdu to continue the discussion of new business models and technological developments.

zilian@chinadailyusa.com

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