Darth VaderGE experts claim future laser additive manufacturers will be the Jedi knights of the industry.
Additive manufacturing has been applied by many companies as a specialist tool, putting the advanced technique for intricate use where high accuracy is paramount.
But now, it seems the system is being utilised more and more for common plant floor work as the technology continues its gradual shift into the mainstream.
The Financial reports that General Electric (GE) - which acquired two additive manufacturers who have developed advanced technologies for rapid prototyping late last year - is one company that is embracing 3D printing and making increasing use of it.
According to GE, the generations of the manufacturing workforce to come will be skilled in using high-tech laser tooling that enables them to work quickly, more efficiently and with higher precision.
GE is nothing if not an early adopter of new manufacturing technologies. Its work with lasers dates back 50 years and since then the company considers itself something of a forerunner when it comes to the application of lasers in additive manufacturing.
Indeed, recently GE laser scientists at the firm's Shanghai-based GE Global Research facility built a one-of-a-kind laser deposition machine that is capable of efficiently building tricky materials such as titanium into parts as large as one metre tall.
This method of additive manufacturing is also being developed to form the leading edge of jet engine fan blades and the company is evaluating a range of GE business applications involving similar complex components.
Leader of new developments in laser technology for GE Hongqiang Chen commented: "As manufacturing becomes more advanced, we're beginning to see laser technologies in manufacturing move from specialty applications to common tools used by manufacturing workers on the plant floor."
"New manufacturing employees will sort of be like Jedi Knights, wielding laser tools that cut, weld and scribe advanced metal and ceramic materials into parts," he added.
This is just the latest in a string of reports suggesting that 3D printing techniques are edging into the mainstream, as the technologies develop and become more affordable, allowing small and medium-sized businesses to take advantage of the developments as well.
Indeed, GE's comments follow last week's report by Gartner, which suggested that the early adopters of 3D printing technologies will benefit as systems advance, while the cost of a 3D printer could be as low as £1,315 by 2016.