Which physical problems can can you solve as a start-up using 3D technology?

For some time now, digital entrepreneurs have been ruling the roost, offering ingenious apps, software packages and online services. But today, we are seeing a new generation emerge in this digital world: so-called ‘digiproneurs’ who are taking things a step further by using digital means to develop tangible physical products quickly and efficiently. What's the catalyst? 3D printing!

It is a company's basic footing, its ability to offer a unique solution to a pressing problem, that determines whether it stands or falls. Since digitalisation is an ongoing trend, apps give many entrepreneurs such a firm foundation. But recent developments mean that revolutionary production methods like additive manufacturing or 3D printing are also gradually gaining in importance.

The advent of the Internet has given entrepreneurs a brand new array of possibilities. All of a sudden, it has become possible to offer products and services worldwide on an on-demand basis. The Web has become entrepreneurs' new 'playground'. No wonder, then, that over the past few years they have sought their salvation primarily in apps and other software. The benefits are substantial:  

  • Such products and services require little investment.
  • Lengthy chains of production and complex assembly procedures are a thing of the past.
  • There is no need to keep any stock.
  • You can reach a wider public.

Back to hardware

However, the rise of additive manufacturing shows that not every entrepreneur needs to depend on apps. After all, this manufacturing technology enables entrepreneurs to develop physical products on a level playing field. Start-ups need to see this and rise to the challenge. Because anyone intent on ensuring a sustainable future is once again turning to hardware as part of their product mix.

3D solutions to everyday problems

How can you, as an entrepreneur, offer potential customers solutions to existing problems today? Surely, the examples listed below indicate that innumerable gaps in everyday life can be filled by smart, 3D-printed products.

  • Solving straightforward problems with uncomplicated products: the ease of manufacturing made-to-measure parts means that repairing or customising a bicycle has never been easier.
  • Upgrading existing products: personalised earbuds give music fans the most intensive listening experience.
  • Using smart technologies to create high-quality products: US start-up Sols is making inroads into the market with its 3D-printed insoles.

This text is based on a blog previously published on Xerius.be.