Jabil Inc., offers a forecast of five important additive manufacturing trends that will continue to accelerate innovations in the new year.
According to a recent report from Grand View Research, the additive manufacturing market is projected to reach $76B by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 20.8% over the forecasted period. Aggressive market expansion is attributed in part to increased adoption of additive manufacturing in industrial applications as well as sustained momentum in incumbent industry segments, including automotive, healthcare and aerospace & defense.
An additive manufacturing pioneer and manufacturing powerhouse, Jabil continually has supported market growth through its innovations in materials, processes and machines. Highly innovative engineered materials complement Jabil’s world-class manufacturing solutions, which are backed by rigorous quality standards and production capabilities. “As serial production becomes more viable and mainstream, we need to take a holistic view of the end-to-end part production ecosystem,” said Jesse Sumstad, senior product manager, Jabil Additive. “All the factors that impact success—from design for additive and the use of engineered materials to post-processing methods and cost of labor—must be part of the overall decision-making process.”
Below are five additive manufacturing predictions from Jabil’s Sumstad that forecast expansion and diversification as the additive manufacturing continues to mature:
1. Sustainable materials are having a moment. Increased demand for environmentally friendly materials is growing rapidly as companies seek more sustainable solutions to reduce raw materials, waste and carbon footprints. Moreover, regulatory pressures to recycle and repurpose plastic waste for 3D printing applications continues to gather momentum, especially in Europe where plastic waste pollution is being tackled on multiple levels. Equally important, the trend for bio-based and bio-compatible materials used in packaging and other traditional manufacturing applications is transitioning to the additive market. Interest in Jabil’s low-carbon PK 5000 and formaldehyde-free PA 0600 is growing alongside circular economy initiatives.
2. Additive manufacturing processes need to be eco-friendly too. While a lot of focus is on the development of sustainable, recyclable materials, expect to see this broaden to encompass demands for more eco-friendly processes and 3D printing platforms. Technical feasibility and research into more sustainable processes and machine platforms need to be addressed over the next 12-to-18 months as part of all-encompassing circular economy initiatives.
3. The industrialization of AM continues. Over the past year, additive manufacturing has seen an uptick in volume serial production of final parts. While prototyping and tooling still rank high on the list of AM applications, it’s clear that the production of end-use parts is growing, along with the availability of rigorous manufacturing processes and Quality Management Systems (QMS) to ensure the highest levels of part reliability, resiliency and robustness. Future expansion is forecasted, especially for applications where Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) is being utilized to design parts. Additionally, as the costs of additive manufacturing continue to come down, the ability to compete with injection molding increases, resulting in more viable uses for AM to manufacture end-use parts.
4. Applications are propelling pellet printers forward. Interest in pellet printers is growing alongside the availability of pellet-based materials for making large parts based on the favorable economics of this type of 3D printing. Continued expansion in this area is on the horizon, particularly for applications involving large-scale castings and patterns.
5. Customized materials nearing a heyday: The push is on for customized materials as companies recognize opportunities to achieve extra ductility, flexibility and agility with materials tailored for specific applications. In particular, growing interest in polyketone-based materials is being driven by the need for high degrees of impact strength while being resistant to most fuels and fuel additives. As a result, this type of engineered material is ideally suited for fuel-tank applications.