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How the Socioeconomic Benefits of Rapid Manufacturing Can Offset Techn

Author(s)/Editor(s): Dr Philip Reeves

Pages in Print Edition: 12PP

Published: 09/29/2008
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The technological capabilities and constraints of solid freeform fabrication (SFF) technologies, or rapid or direct digital manufacturing, are often benchmarked against more traditional processes such as injection molding, die casting, and more recently, CNC machining, in many cases limiting the application of rapid manufacturing. This paper looks beyond the traditional engineering metrics of process selection into the socioeconomic benefits of rapid manufacturing and how the technology can be used to enable entire new business models and supply chains and how it can respond to shifting global demographic and economic patterns, such as the aging population, increasing fuel costs, limited natural resources, and ever-changing consumer trends.