Ask any engineer or product designer what it would be like to design strictly for performance, and you’ll see their eyes light up over the power and freedom of 3D printing. But according to Deloitte’s new white paper, the benefits of 3D printing are not only revolutionizing the design process, they’re changing the economics of production innovation as well. 

Following the paper’s outline, the ability to 3D print end-use parts and ready-to-use tooling, first “reduces the capital required to achieve economies of scale. Second, it increases flexibility and reduces the capital required to achieve scope.”  This means that growing companies can produce smaller runs of customized products and produce differentiated products more economically – all while focusing heavily on design and function.

This design freedom is not to be underestimated. As illustrated by Brian Gulassa, Chief Design Officer at Thoughtfull Toys, traditional design is like driving on a road with left and right barriers. These are limitations. 3D printing is like flight. “You could just lift up and any direction is possible. It’s that fundamentally different. It’s so open that anything is possible.”

Titled “3D opportunity for end-use products: Additive manufacturing builds a better future,” the Deloitte publication outlines industry uses of 3D printing for end-use production—from medical devices to aircraft—and the future of production innovation using the flight-like freedom of 3D printing.

Click here to download Deloitte’s white paper.