3D printing dates lower back to a technology in which no one could have imagined the current scope of the era. It has grown to be a commercial giant as patents surrounding it have expired and the general population has begun to experiment with the technology. The leaps and bounds that the technology has made on the grounds are astounding, to mention the least.
The increased global demand for sustainable solutions and customised products has resulted in a surge in demand for 3D-printed parts and products. Technological innovations in the field have halved costs while delivering twice the performance. As the 3D printing sector moves beyond prototyping, use of this technology, particularly in supply chains, is becoming increasingly widespread
This Technology gained mainstream exposure due to the difference it made in rapidly producing PPE during the beginning of the outbreak. Global supply chain disruption made it more difficult to source parts from overseas and forced businesses to consider more local solutions, which included 3D printing, for both prototyping and end-use parts. The 3D printing industry hasn’t been completely resilient to the past year’s challenges but is nevertheless set to continue growing 17 percent year-over-year in the next three years.
- The 3D printing market recorded an estimated market size of USD 12.6Bn with a growth rate of 21% YOY in 2020.
- The 3D printing market is expected to more than double in size over the next 5 years, reaching a value of $37.2 billion in 2026.
- 84% of engineering businesses used 3D printing to produce functional end-use parts (54%) or the same (30%) in 2020.
- 73% of engineering businesses forecasted about producing or sourcing more 3D printed parts in 2021 as compared to 2021.
Current Trends in 3D Printing
Trends suggest an accelerated impact of digital manufacturing taking hold in the form of production applications, particularly across the automotive, industrial and medical sectors. In the auto sector, we’ve seen an increased focus on developing production-grade materials for auto applications as 3D printing gravitates from prototyping to full production of final parts and products. Additionally, as new platforms such as electric vehicles enter mass production, HP Metal Jet is expected to be leveraged for applications such as the light weighting of fully safety-certified metal parts. Industrial 3D manufacturing also enables the automotive industry to produce applications in new ways that were previously impossible, along with the ability to design application-specific parts for individual systems or models.
Challenges of 3D printing
The most significant challenge in the 3D printing roadmap is the change in mindset. With 3D manufacturing, there is almost a re-learning process that needs to take place – the vast majority of those limits no longer apply. The design possibilities are limitless. And, of course, there are new skills that must be developed to fully leverage these possibilities. For engineers, new elements of the design process will be introduced into their roles where they will need to learn the mechanics of 3D printing to become experts in the processes and best support operational functions during production.