Essentium, Inc., a leader in industrial additive manufacturing, announced the first in a series of findings from independent global research on the current and future use of industrial 3D printing. The study reveals a significant increase in the use of large-scale additive manufacturing (AM). The number of manufacturers using 3D printing for full-scale production has doubled compared to last year (40% in 2019; 21% in 2018). Two-thirds of companies reported they have more than doubled their use of industrial-scale AM in their manufacturing, and 47% are now using the technology for runs of thousands of printed parts, a jump of 17% compared to 2018.
While reduced manufacturing costs is a key driver for many manufacturers (58%), the increased adoption of AM at scale is also fuelled by manufacturers’ need to improve customer response time. 61% of respondents said they are adopting the technology to reduce lead times, 59% believe they will benefit from mass customization, while 59% are looking to increase speed-to-part production, and 51% want to achieve high part performance.
As industry-scale AM enables new capabilities not possible with traditional manufacturing, two-thirds of manufacturing companies surveyed see themselves as leaders in 3D printing innovations. Despite the optimism, some companies still face obstacles including the high cost of 3D printing materials (51%); expensive 3D printing hardware (38%); and current 3D printing technology does not scale (31%).
Essentium is using this survey information to create an open ecosystem with the HSE printing platform (which the company claims re-writes the speed and economics of industrial-scale AM), an open software environment, and a broad choice of materials.
162 managers and executives from manufacturing companies across the world completed the survey on their current experiences, challenges and trends with 3D printing for production manufacturing. Participants included a mix of roles and were from companies of various sizes across industries including aerospace, automotive, consumer goods and contract manufacturing.