Not only is the manufacturing sector on the rebound in terms of regaining profitability in the wake of the crippling recession and bringing on more workers to help push the industry forward, but it is also benefiting from major advancements in technology. The days of industrial jobs being nothing more than grunt work are coming to an end. Today, there are a number of sophisticated tools being put into place that will require future members of the workforce to come in with a much stronger level of technical acumen.
One of the advancements rapidly growing in popularity with industrial companies is the 3-D printer. Manufacturing recruiters will need to begin proactively identifying candidates who have skills and experience in operating machinery of this kind as this is sure to be a coming need for many industrial organizations.
According to a report from 3DPrint.com, citing data from a study conducted by Lux Research, over the next 10 years, the 3D-printing marketplace around the world will have a valuation of $12 billion, with at least $7 billion going toward the production of finished products, particularly as companies move from the experimental and prototype phases where they are today.
The website also highlighted a PricewaterhouseCoopers study which polled 100 of the biggest manufacturing companies in the world. Two-thirds of these organizations stated that they already had the technology in place and were using it on a consistent basis for production and for generating prototypes.
Ford Motor Company is far and away the biggest user of 3-D printing tools. Ford has been at the forefront of this technology since the '80s and currently prints as many as 200,000 auto parts every year using 14 machines at its production facility based in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Altogether, the company owns five locations that have this kind of machinery in place, with three of them based in the U.S.
3-D printing is the future of manufacturing
As more companies operating within the industrial sector uncover the benefits of using 3-D printing techniques, it's reasonable to assume that it will become an industry standard. This is largely because it is a much more cost effective way to create products at scale, in a much shorter amount of time.
"I honestly think this will impact everybody's lives," Wayne King, a scientist at Lawrence Livermore Lab in California told the Contra Costa Times about the benefits of using 3-D printing technology. "Complexity is free. It doesn't cost any more to build a complex part than it does a simple part."
"3-D printing provides the answer to some very difficult challenges," Paul Alexander, a Livermore Lab machine operator told the newspaper. "You can make parts with functionality as your first criteria, and tailor them to the tools available."
Individuals with a skillset similar to Alexander are those who will soon be in high demand. This is one of the primary reasons why manufacturing recruiters need to stay abreast on changes taking place within the industry so that they can be adequately prepared to deliver quality candidates to the clients they service.