3D printing to transform parts of manufacturing – Jones Lang LaSalle

Three-dimensional printing is set to transform parts of manufacturing, and as a result will also bring about major changes to the nature of factories and supply chains, says Jones Lang LaSalle.

This new technology, which Jones Lang LaSalle says has the potential in the longer term to spark what some commentators have called a “new industrial revolution”, enables on-demand printing of objects and will put the emphasis on customisation. “Instead of off-shoring, 3D printing is likely to encourage more local production closer to the market,” the firm says. It will create demand for more standard, small and medium-sized factories rather than large, bespoke ones; companies will be more likely to lease these than own them.

“As a result, this will open up opportunities for developers and investors,” says Jon Sleeman, director of EMEA logistics & industrial research at JLL. The evolution of manufacturing is driving demand for a range of property across the value chain, he adds – including R&D facilities, which are often co-located with production, and logistics facilities, which support manufacturing.

Jones Lang LaSalle says manufacturing is a significant source of demand for logistics property – the sector accounted directly for 16% of total take-up of logistics property in 11 major European countries during 2008-2012, according to the firm’s calculations.

Paul Betts at Jones Lang LaSalle adds that developers and investors that have previously had a focus on logistics within the industrial sector “should also consider the opportunities generated by manufacturing, especially in strong cluster locations”.