China Jumps on the 3D-Printing Wave

China is the world’s largest manufacturer. They produce a diverse range of products including clothes, toys, and parts. Often when you purchase something the infamous ‘Made in China’ can be found somewhere on the product. Now, other countries have used 3d printers nip away at China’s grasp on manufacturing. China’s response, an 80 million dollar investment.

The Group
Last year 3D printing industry leaders formed the 3DP Industry Alliance in Beijing – their goal: promoting the 3D printing technology in China. The members include several universities such as the United Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Tsinghua University and other authoritative research institutions. They scheduled their third council meeting in Chengdu where they revealed their plans.

The Idea
3DP Industry Alliance will establish the new 3D printing technology Innovation Center in Chengdu, particularly in the Shuangliu County. The investment will come from Industry Alliance and the local county’s government. The government will also provide $16 – 32 million USD to help local research. The Shuangliu County is roughly 12 miles from downtown Chengdu and hosts the fifth popular airport in all of China, the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport.

3D Printing in China’s Manufacturing
Unlike typical manufacturing where you often have a whole piece and cut away at it, 3D printing implements an additive concept rather than the removal one. To date, China hasn’t really utilized additive manufacturing across its myriad factories. China has around 9% of the world’s 3D printers while the United States controls 40% of the world’s printers.

The new innovation center is meant to increase the Research and Development that many others have already begun a long time ago. The 3D printing technology research is meant to assist in the making of electronic components as well as helping out in the automobile industry.

Possibilities in the Future
China’s recent investment could spark rival massive investments in other countries and possibly another one in their own. The desire to increase the abilities and uses of 3D printers only helps the growing technology become even bigger.

Although some believe that supporting industry-leaders could hurt smaller manufacturers, the discoveries could actually eventually help smaller outfits who don’t have the capital to invest in heavy R&D.

The centers, like the one wanting to be constructed in Chengdu, serve more to spread the ideas being discovered there. The manufacturing plants do not control them so it is more of a community research project. This means that what they possibly learn could help you, even if you are just the occasional printing user. Besides it will take some time before 9 percent can turn into 40 percent.

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