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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 15th April 2016 > LET A THOUSAND FACTORIES BLOOM

LET A THOUSAND FACTORIES BLOOM

3-D printing could make American manufacturing great again

@kmaney

DISRUPTIVE

IF THE FOLKS at 3D Hubs are right, presidential candidates can stop fulminating about bringing back manufacturing from China or Bangladesh or wherever. Technology will render that shift inevitable. In the next decade, the business dynamic that makes it a good idea for a lot of U.S. companies to manufacture overseas will go poof. The very concept of a big honkin’ factory will eventually become as anachronistic as a typing pool.

Instead, companies are going to custom make most things in small factories right in your neighborhood or town, close enough so you could go pick up your stuff, or maybe have it dropped onto your porch by a drone. Factories will essentially get broken up, scattered and made local. As 3D Hubs co-founder Bram de Zwart puts it, “Why would you put a thousand machines in one place when you can put one machine in a thousand places?”

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