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3D printing has evolved rapidly in recent years and is perceived by some as having the potential to revolutionise the manufacturing sector. As 3D printing hardware develops, and the range of printing materials expands, the technology is fast becoming a viable alternative to traditional manufacturing processes. It enables greater product customisation and reduces time to market as well as challenging supply chain constraints that are often greatly exacerbated in more rural areas.
Given its potentially transformative impact on the manufacturing sector and the opportunities it provides, HIE commissioned Frontline Consultants Ltd, in partnership with Loughborough University, to undertake a research exercise to help improve understanding of 3D printing and its potential applications in the Highlands and Islands. The study involved a mix-method approach including a desk based review of global trends and extensive consultation across a range of public and private sector stakeholders and businesses. A range of case studies were also developed.
The report and executive summary can be downloaded below.