3D printing is a phenomenon that is gaining popularity around the world. The concept is simple- build a three-dimensional object layer by layer until it is complete. Though the idea has been around for many years, it is just now gaining speed and taking off with the public. InkTechnologies.com recently put a piece together discussing the process, but it’s essentially a single idea that is made into a 3D model on the computer. It’s then scanned by a printer that makes your vision a reality. This process can save countless dollars, hours, and hassle in the company, and the hype it is getting is well-deserved. People all across the globe are reading and hearing about this innovative technology; companies are already thinking of how to use 3D printing to promote their services, and Nike is no exception. A huge superpower in the athletic scene, Nike has wasted no time in setting their sights on what is becoming a growing trend from sea to shining sea.
Prototyping is a crucial stage in manufacturing, so it would only make sense to look for ways to speed up the process. 3D printing allows for producing more in less time, which is exactly what Nike wants to accomplish. Nike’s original process involved hand-making prototypes of soles, which would then be worked with and supplemented with their features and ideas for things such as cleats. The speed at which 3D printing can now produce these prototypes was previously considered impossible, but now Nike is learning that the sky is the limit with technology. The company used to require a great deal of time and effort just to churn out a few prototypes that may not even be worth it. With 3D printing, a couple employees can accomplish what many can in half as much time; this makes the process cheaper and quicker. In a company as rapidly-growing as Nike, that difference means the world.
Not only does 3D printing technology make prototyping more efficient, but it also cuts back on the time needed to evaluate a product. Evaluation is an important stage of production; it lets the company know what changes have worked for it, what changes need to be made, and how it can improve. In the athletic department, there is always bound to be competition. Nike, like countless others, is always looking for ways to come out on top. 3D printing may be the one thing that takes them to even greater heights above the rest. Change is a recurring theme in today’s society, and all companies are forced to change with the times, which can often become stressful and tedious. With 3D printing, however, beneficial changes are being made at a rapid rate, and Nike is gaining the upper hand.
Nike may be focusing on prototyping shoes first with this unfamiliar territory, but that doesn’t mean it won’t expand and experiment with different things in the future. In such new ground to cover, Nike just prefers taking it one step at a time, and ensuring that they have one area tackled before taking a leap to another. The company isn’t stressing itself out over what will become of this new advantage, but rather enjoying the effects as they come. Prototyping has been the main stage affected so far, due to the expense of creating actual models with 3D printing. This is definitely subject to change, since as the 3D printing industry grows so may the amount of money Nike invests in the matter. They are not ready to put all their eggs in one basket, so to speak. They are just pleased that one technological breakthrough is already saving them time, money, and manpower.
Nike intends to use 3D printing to better their company, and in turn benefit average citizens like you. Whether you know it or not, the effects of 3D printing affect your everyday life, indirectly or not. Faster, cheaper, and quicker for Nike means more readily-available, cheaper, better equipment for you. 3D printing is becoming the talk of the town, and it won’t be long before it changes our very lifestyles for the better. Companies like Adidas and New Balance are already rising up to rival Nike’s intentions, but 3D printing is already leaving its mark on Nike’s sales and products. Only time will tell if it will continue to expand through industries and companies everywhere.