The use and abuse of 3D-printing from a business model perspective
2016 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
The paper analyses changes in user activities and behaviour across different types of actors following the introduction of 3D printers. 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, has been claimed to disrupt manufacturing, allowing firms to move from prototyping to full-scale end-part production and replacement part production in a one-step process. 3D printing has many different uses, for example, the manufacturing of toys, shoes, lamps and fashion accessories, and by implication many different types of users and buyers. There are few empirical studies on the types of uses and users of 3D, hampering our understanding in what ways the 3D printers may change the behaviour of users, and whether 3D printers affect the likelihood and the nature of entrepreneurship or business model innovation. To investigate this, a model was created based on the 3DP literature. The model is applied on a distributor customer database and four interview-based illustrative case studies. The empirical findings show that the use of 3DP a) lowers the knowledge and resource barriers for experimentation and entrepreneurial entry, b) increases product and concept prototyping in product development, c) provides a potential for business model innovation by expanding the boundaries of the firm upstream and downstream, and d) becomes a ticket for entrepreneurial entry. Based on our results, the paper suggests that the potential of 3D printers alter user innovative activities is high but most of the potential is latent.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified Mechanical Engineering Business Administration
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-32704OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-32704DiVA: diva2:1056535
Australian Center for Entrepreneurship Exchange (ACERE) Conference 2016, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, 2-5 February, 2016