Disruption Report ITECH1100
by Michelle Holly
ITECH1100 DIGITAL REVOLUTION DISRUPTION REPORT
Name: Michelle Holly
Student ID: 30377995
Topic: Disrupting industrial design with 3D printing
Industrial design is the process of designing objects, products, and services using mass production techniques
(Industrial Designers Society of America [IDSA], 2020). Industrial design aims to fulfill consumer needs with highquality products at low prices. Industrial design focuses on improving the appearance, function, and value of products
to give benefits for the manufacturer and user (IDSA, 2020).
People are often confused about interpreting the differences between industrial design and product design. Indeed,
product design has become a part of industrial design, and both terms refer to the design of products. However, there
is a significant difference between industrial design and product design.
Industrial design focuses on designing user-oriented products that emphasize the value of the objects. Additionally,
industrial design devises products to function properly, meet user needs, and address consumer problems. Moreover,
industrial design increases the innovation of products that require the industrialization process, such as vehicles,
machines, furniture, and household appliances. Whereas, product design puts more emphasis on designing products
with the aim that the goods are sold in the market but inattentive to the value of the products.
According to Jimmy Design (2019b), in terms of production, industrial designers work with many people from other
disciplines, specifically management, marketing, engineering, and psychology. To manufacture products, industrial
designers create models and prototypes based on user needs. Next, they collaborate with engineers to do some
researches and trials to make sure their products are working sufficiently. Later, people from the management and
marketing departments will manufacture products and distribute them to the market at a low price.
3D printing is an additive manufacturing technique to produce a three-dimensional object from a digital file (3D
Printing, n.d.). This technique extracts a digital file and prints hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers to form a
three-dimensional object. Some industries, such as architecture, fashion, medical, and automotive have used 3D
printing to manufacture their products. In particular, footwear, spare parts, replicas of human organs, and dental
Nowadays, 3D printing is increasingly in demand by many manufacturers because of the ease of producing large scale
goods in a short time and at low prices. Additionally, 3D printing uses environmentally friendly materials because it
can be recycled. According to Larasati (2018), 3D printing uses Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Polylactic
Acid (PLA) as the materials. Both materials melt easily when heated and freeze easily when chilled.
To create a product, the manufacturer designs a model of an object and determines the color using 3D software, such
as AutoCAD or Tinkercad. Next, the digital file is printed using a 3D printer and uses ABS or PLA materials. Then, the
3D printer prints the model with a horizontal-layers technique to form a three-dimensional object. The length of the
printing process depends on the size of the model. Last is the finishing process where the manufacturer uses the
sandpaper technique, to make the object smoother and neat.
Several ways 3D printing may disrupt the industrial industry
3D printing changes the inventory system
Manufacturers generally produce products in large quantities, and this process requires a lot of time. Moreover, the
manufacturer has to store the spare parts in the warehouse and transport it to the production department, which is
not efficient and time-consuming. The use of the paper system to track spare parts may lead to the error when
recording stocks. Due to this, there is a possibility of overproduction products and missing materials.
For this reason, 3D printing technology changes the traditional inventory system to digital inventory. This system
stores digital spare parts in digital files, so it is easier when producing on-demand and repeat products. Related to this
idea, the manufacturer does not need to define the same parts multiple times instead of access the digital file and
publish spare parts that are ready and verified using 3D printing. Indeed, the manufacturer can produce products
faster and quickly fulfill customers’ needs.
3D printing changes the environmental impacts
Generally, industries are not paying attention to environmental sustainability. Production waste that discharged
carelessly pollutes the ocean and adds gas emissions to the greenhouse. In addition, non-recyclable materials cause
pollution to the environment.
By comparison, 3D printing applies the industrial revolution 4.0 with the concern on environmental sustainability. By
way of illustration, 3D printing uses materials such as ABS and PLA, which can be recycled, making it more
environmentally friendly. In this case, the manufacturers may recycle defective products by melting them in high
temperatures and reshaping them into new products. Due to this, manufacturers do not have to buy new materials,
which certainly reduce waste disposal into the environment and will not damage the earth’s sustainability.
3D printing increases production efficiency and disrupts the manufacturing economy
In conventional manufacturing, manufacturers require a long time in producing products because manufacturers
produce goods in large batches. Additionally, products manufactured in large quantities usually have inabilities due to
the lack of attention in producing each item. Thus, manufacturers may experience financial loss when the products
cannot meet users’ expectations.
In contrast to this, 3D printing stores designs in digital inventory and can produce goods in small batches. Due to this,
manufacturers can manufacture user-needs products in a short time. Moreover, manufacturers can make prototypes
in advance to gain feedback from consumers so they can improve the quality and value of the products. As a result,
the products meet the user needs so it can reduce the possibility of unsold products. Furthermore, 3D printing uses
machines at an affordable price, which will give opportunities to small businesses to expand their business at a low
capital but using a high-quality source.
Changes in the repeat purchase process as an effect of the disruption in the inventory system
Based on the diagrams, three actors play their role in the repeat purchase process, in particular the customer,
inventory department, and manufacturer. In this case, there is a triggering event when the customer needs a repeat
purchase. Following this, several activities are happening in the process.
After expressing their needs, the customer informs the manufacturer to fulfill their needs. At this point, the
manufacturer asks the inventory department to check the availability of the spare parts. Then, the inventory
department checks the stocks of the spare parts. There is a decision point regarding the result of the stocks report.
However, activities undertaken relating to stock yields may differ for the manufacturer who uses the traditional
inventory system and digital inventory system.
When using the traditional inventory system, the manufacturer may retrieve the spare parts when it is available in the
inventory. On the other hand, if they are running out spare parts, the inventory department has to request materials to
the supplier. Then, the inventory department can produce spare parts.
In the same way, when using the digital inventory system, the manufacturer may collect the spare parts when it is
available in the inventory. However, if the spare parts are not available, people from the inventory department can
access the previous digital file containing the design of the spare parts. Additionally, they can produce spare parts
without having to buy from the supplier.
Furthermore, when the manufacturer receives the spare parts, either from the availability stocks or from the
manufacture, the manufacturer may produce the products. When the manufacturer finishes the production process,
they distribute the products to the customer. Indeed, the customer receives the products. Lastly, the repeat purchase
reaches its outcome when the customer successfully fulfills their needs.
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Brown, M. (2019, May 4). How 3D printing is changing product design and manufacturing. CAD crowd.
Clark, M. (2019, January 24). It’s time to digitally transform your manufacturing inventory processes. RFgen.
Crotty, B. (2019, September 25). Digital inventory in automated 3D part warehouse. 3YourMind.
Goehrke, S. (2018, November 5). Digital inventory: How 3D printing lets manufacturers rely less on warehouses of
stuff. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahgoehrke/2018/11/05/digital-inventory-how-3d-printing-letsmanufacturers-rely-less-on-warehouses-of-stuff/#56cae7c913ee
Industrial Designers Society of America. (n.d.). What is industrial design? https://www.idsa.org/what-industrial-design
Jimmy Design. (2015a, October 29). What is industrial design? [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/11Ne1SwXcnw
Jimmy Design. (2019b, February 17). Product design vs industrial design. Whats the difference? [Video]. Youtube.
Kirkham, P., & Blecksmith, A. (2003). Industrial design. Grove Art Online.
Larasati, A. E. (2018, October 4). Mengenal lebih dekat teknologi 3D printing. International Design School.
May, T. (2014, June 19). 25 inspiring examples of industrial design. Creative Bloq.
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Tejj. (2019, May 18). The difference between product design and industrial design. Medium. https://uxdesign.cc/thedifference-between-product-design-and-industrial-design-32d8f207abaf
3D Printing. (n.d.). What is 3D printing? https://3dprinting.com/what-is-3d-printing/