ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING NEEDS BROADBAND CONNECTIVITY

banner james carlini - Carlini's CornerBy James Carlini

There is a lot of promise from the growing industry of 3D printers and manufacturing products through their use as well as new 3D scanners. This technology is providing a second industrial revolution in the United States as well as globally.

Both large and small companies are developing custom approaches to manufacturing anything from hard-to-find car parts, to dental implants, jewelry, jet parts, biomedical parts and everything in-between.

The 3D printers required to make these one-off custom products are not expensive anymore and because of that “affordable pricing”, there are many start-ups creating new niche markets everyday as well as well-established large manufacturers looking at a whole new level of intricate customization and affordability in making prototypes.

The intelligent amenity needed in real estate to support this new technology is bandwidth and lots of it. Most in commercial real estate don’t realize that their properties are probably obsolete. In the last several years, corporate site selection committees that didn’t even know what broadband connectivity was a decade ago, now have it in their criteria list as one of the top three attributes a property must have.

HOW MUCH BANDWIDTH DO WE NEED?

Last year (2012) in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman said,

“Big bandwidth, combined with 3-D printers, would also allow for the rapid prototyping of all kinds of manufactured products that can then be made anywhere.”

Back in 2004, I talked about having gigabit speeds in order to attract new businesses out of Silicon Valley and that the three most important words in real estate have become, “Location, Location, Connectivity” in an interview with Business 2.0 Magazine.

Several years ago in 2006, I started saying that 1Gigabit per second (1Gbps) should be the baseline when it comes to speeds coming into the consumer. There was a high-tech 800-acre property developed that in the planning stage, we said that it should provide 40Gbps to any corporate tenant that was leasing space.

Of course we got the “Are you crazy?” response from those still living in the 1950s, but we surged ahead anyway and created a next-generation industrial park or Intelligent Business Campus (IBC).

The time has come where even one gigabit is not enough bandwidth for the new emerging applications being used in additive manufacturing.

A key component for any industrial park today needs to be bandwidth and lots of it. It is not enough to have 100Mbps (100 Megabits per second (which is 1/10 the rate of 1Gbps) as some out-of-date experts would still lead you to believe. You need properties to offer multi-gigabit speeds in order to attract all the cutting-edge companies.

The quicker property management companies figure this out, the faster they will be screaming for network infrastructure to be upgraded so that they can get access to multi-gigabit connectivity.

It is not a gimmick or “slick offer” to have multi-gigabit connectivity, it is a matter of regional survival and more smaller communities understand this need for economic survival and sustainability more than some of the larger cities and regions.

BACK TO COTTAGE INDUSTRIES?

With the cost of 3D printers and 3D scanners coming down to the price of what a good laser printer cost 15 years ago, many are seeing that there is also a resurgence in small companies growing out of a household that may have great potential as more people use the technologies and become creative and innovative.

With 3D technology being affordable to small start-ups, the need to have access to broadband connectivity (anything 1Gbps or more) becomes a building amenity that better be available. This means that not just industrial parks will require high-speed capabilities. Residential areas that have available network capabilities will be hotbeds for small, entrepreneurial start-ups.

Large companies, like GE, are using this technology to build more durable parts that are cheaper as well as stronger. This short video provides a quick perspective http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QKgY9O3kwE

If a city or region is concerned about regional economic development and sustainability, they better invest in their infrastructure to provide adequate bandwidth to attract maintain these large and small companies of next-generation manufacturing because 3D manufacturing is here and it is geometrically expanding.

Will Moore’s Law apply to 3D printing? Only time will tell. If it does, bandwidth demands will increase geometrically.

CARLINI-ISM : Adequate bandwidth will go from gigabit speeds to terabit speeds faster than you may think as 3D printing takes hold in all types of industries.

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Copyright 2013 – James Carlini

2 responses to “ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING NEEDS BROADBAND CONNECTIVITY


  1. Megabits & Gigabits – are the terminology used for bandwidth speeds, megabytes & gigabytes are the terminology for storage. So we will move up to terabits for speed, and for storage, in some cases, we are already at terabyte levels.

  2. If Moore’s Law is correct and technology doubles every 18 or so months than don’t we need to skip the gigabit (Gb) and head for gigabyte (GB)?

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