3D Printers Are Turning Up the Heat On Traditional Forms of Trade and Manufacturing.
Digital manufacturing technologies, especially 3D printing, allow objects to be digitized in three dimensions and then printed out as objects, using a range of materials. This shortens the time lag between design and production and helps speed up the manufacturing of small batches of products. Digital manufacturing thus emphasizes the role of the service economy and the growing importance of design and programming capacities while posing a threat to traditional forms of manufacturing. Does digital manufacturing have the potential to revolutionize production methods and trade the way the steam engine, the internal combustion engine, and electronics did in the past, and the way that information technologies are doing today? What type of policies will be needed if digital manufacturing is to reach its full potential? What are the challenges facing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean?