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Large-scale additive manufacturing has more than doubled says new survey

Nov. 17, 2020
The third annual study from Essentium reveals the use of large-scale additive manufacturing has more than doubled in the past year for 70 percent of manufacturing companies

Essentium, a company focused on industrial additive manufacturing (AM), announced the first in a series of findings from independent global research on the current and future use of industrial 3D printing. The third annual study reveals that the use of large-scale AM has more than doubled in the past year for 70 percent of manufacturing companies. The number of companies that have shifted to using AM for full-scale production runs of hundreds of thousands of parts has doubled from 7 percent in 2019 to 14 percent in 2020, proving AM has evolved from the prototyping phase.

The survey found 57 percent of manufacturers increased 3D printing for production parts to keep their supply chains flowing during the COVID-19 pandemic. 3D printing investment plans have also changed at many companies: 24 percent of respondents have gone all-in; 25 percent of manufacturers are ramping up to meet supply chain needs; and 30 percent of respondents are evaluating industrial-scale 3D printing to fill supply chain gaps.

The survey showed continued agreement that the manufacturing industry could save billions of dollars in production costs once 3D printing technology matures with 90 percent of manufacturers agreeing. The majority with 84 percent think that companies investing in AM will have a clear competitive advantage in the next five years, while 87 percent believe 3D printing will increasingly drive local manufacturing. However, to achieve these benefits, materials innovations will be critical to overcome obstacles, including the high cost of 3D printing materials (37 percent) and unreliable materials (24 percent). 

169 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.

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