‘Flexibility is not free' 
- Rapid prototyping: rapid product development lowers development costs, shortens time to market and reduces capital intensity;
- Rapid manufacturing: new dimensions of flexibility deliver highly customized products at no cost penalties and even with little manual assembly work.
1. Universal manufacturing machine can directly transform a digital 3D model into a physical product
2. Customization and flexibility are free – no tools or molds are required while product designs and volumes can be altered without incurring cost penalties in manufacturing
3. Complexity is free because additional design complexity and product variety do not incur additional costs in manufacturing
4. Assembly efforts are potentially reduced when producing functionally integrated products with AM.
1. Small production output
Typical for prototyping applications, it is also suited for many industrial components or especially spare parts for older product families still in use (collector items…)
2. High product complexity
Typical for lightweight constructions in the aerospace or performance car industries (mesh structures provide equal performance effect and largely reduce material usage), it is also suited for product designs where conventional production technologies (casting, milling) can not provide complicated internal structures ( cooling chambers)
3. High demand for product customization tailored to individual customers’ needs
Typical for many medical or dental applications (implants, prostheses), AM is also suited for consumer markets like jewelry or sport performance products.
4. Spatially remote demand for products
AM would be suited for any decentralized production of replacement parts in the mining industry, on exploitation platforms of the oil industry or in the military.
To sum up
Will the digitalisation of production and products be as disruptive as it was in the content industries (music, film, newspapers)? [4, 5, 6]
 Stigler, George (1939): Production and Distribution in the Short Run. Journal of Political Economy 47 (3), pp. 305–327.
 Christian Weller, Robin Kleer, Frank T. Piller, Economic Implications of 3D printing: Market structure Models in light of additive manufacturing Revisited, Int. J. Production Economics, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2015.02.020
 Milgrom, Paul; Roberts, John (1990): The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization. The American Economic Review 80 (3), pp. 511–528.
 Von Hippel, Eric (2005): Democratizing Innovation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
 Kleer, Robin; Piller, Frank T. (2013): Modeling Benefits of Local Production by Users: Welfare Effects of Radical Innovation in Flexible Manufacturing Utilizing Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing. Presented at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management 2013, Orlando, FL.
 de Jong, Jerom P.; de Bruijn, Eric (2013): Innovation lessons from 3-D printing. IT Sloan Management Review 54 (2), pp. 43-52.