"In itself, 3D printing isn't going to be a source of competitive advantage but it will become an industry standard," says Dr Hermens. This means businesses that don't keep up with the technology and the design possibilities it offers, won't survive.
"Will it bring manufacturing back onshore? No, because the technology is available globally," Dr Hermens says. "But it will change the way we compete, and the competitive advantage will be in the design of the [product] models themselves."