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Additive Technology Is Outpacing Manufacturers' Efforts to Grasp It

June 6, 2024
Collaboration and hands-on experiences can help crack 3D printing's substantial learning curve.

The global additive manufacturing (AM) market was valued at approximately $16.69 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow to $74.70 billion by the end of this decade. While early applications of additive technology were primarily limited to prototypes, props and models, AM has advanced significantly over the years, with adoption trends matching its rapid development. 

AM offers manufacturers the opportunity to streamline processes and reduce lead times. A recent survey conducted by Formlabs across multiple industries revealed that over 60% of the most recent adopters of additive manufacturing are applying the technology in the production of end-use parts.

Adoption and acceptance of AM technology may be on the rise, but many businesses still struggle to determine the optimal applications for AM. Just like any tool, additive has strengths and weaknesses and requires a substantial learning curve to master. As the hardware continues to advance, it is essential to adapt and find new ways to leverage its capabilities.

Strengthening Supply Chains

In some use cases, AM has the potential to reduce part lead times by as much as 90%. This is particularly relevant for companies working with difficult-to-machine materials like titanium and nickel-based alloys. Through localized production, manufacturers can mitigate expensive delays by printing and delivering parts in a matter of hours or days. 

About the Author

Olga Ivanova | Director of Technology, Mechnano

Olga "Dr. O" Ivanova, Ph.D., is the director of technology at Mechnano. A researcher with more than 10 years of experience in AM, she leads the development of novel formulations and identifies process improvements to satisfy customer requirements. Ivanova is an event advisor for RAPID + TCT 2024.

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