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Market Research - Participate Now! Where Does Additive Manufacturing Stand in 2021?

Editor: Nicole Kareta

After a turbulent 2020, additive manufacturing has become more of a hype topic again. The online portal MISSION ADDITIVE wants to know what AM is really capable of in 2021, what it will be used for and what challenges still exist. To do this, they need your support.

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Despite the corona crisis, additive manufacturing continues to grow. The 2021 market study tries to find out where exactly AM stands. Is it still a matter of trying out 'new things' or are companies already printing in series?
Despite the corona crisis, additive manufacturing continues to grow. The 2021 market study tries to find out where exactly AM stands. Is it still a matter of trying out 'new things' or are companies already printing in series?
(Source: gemeinfrei / Unsplash)

According to a study by SmarTech Analysis, the global additive manufacturing market has already generated USD10.4 billion in revenue in 2019. By 2029, the industrial 3D printing business is then expected to generate about USD55 billion per year. In the wake of the corona crisis, these expectations should certainly be taken with a grain of salt, but despite the difficult situation, confidence in AM seems undiminished: Shares such as those of Desktop Metal or 3D Systems continue to impress on the stock market, and printer manufacturers such as SLM Solutions were even able to increase their sales in the crisis year of 2020. To find out what additive manufacturing can really do today, what we can expect from it and where problems still exist today, MISSION ADDITIVE is interviewing users, developers, engineers, decision-makers and other additive minds. Your opinion is needed!

Your opinion is needed!

Where does additive manufacturing stand today?

Where do you use additively manufactured products? And what are your experiences with industrial 3D printing?
Take part in our survey and receive a summary of the results.
In addition, you have the chance to win:

  • a 3D printer worth 299 euros
  • a reference book worth 50 euros
  • a voucher from shapeways.com worth 25 euros

  • Participate Now!

The Market Research 2021 Aims to Test the Following Theses:

More Industrialization and More Series Production?

If you believe expert opinions, application reports, sales figures and technical developments, additive manufacturing should be advancing into ever broader fields of application. The market research will shed more light on two resulting central theses:

  • Prototyping will no longer be the most important application in the future.
  • Users will increasingly use AM for series production.

In the last market research in 2019, respondents still saw the most important application area for 3D printing as prototyping. At that time, 43 % assumed that AM would be used primarily for prototyping in their company in the next five years. However, it was already apparent at that time, particularly in the area of metal printing, that many users (33 %) saw the future in the manufacture of new products. We assume that in 2021, respondents will focus even more on additive manufacturing of end products, and these will be produced in small as well as specialized series.

What are the Benefits of Additive Manufacturing for Companies?

As application areas change, so will companies' objectives. In terms of strategic goals, the study aims to review the following theses:

  • New processes serve to open up new business models.
  • 3D printing is intended to make value chains more resilient.

About two years ago, increasing efficiency in processes (55 %) and trying 'new things' (36 %) were the most important strategic goals in the companies surveyed. While it is assumed that increasing efficiency is still of great importance, tapping into new business models and with it creating new processes will become more important in 2021. In addition, the corona crisis has shown how vulnerable many value chains are to unforeseen events. In the wake of these impressions, many companies want to hedge their bets with AM capacities that are ad highly operational.

In-House Production or Service Providers?

Before a company can develop new business models with AM, it must first be clarified whether manufacturing know-how and the corresponding infrastructure will be built up within the company or whether manufacturing service providers will be contracted. The study wants to review the following theses on this development:

  • Many companies will operate polymer 3D printers in-house.
  • In the case of metal 3D printing, more users tend to rely on manufacturing service providers.

In the 2019 survey, too high costs were the reason for outsourcing 3D printing for 43 % of respondents. The MISSION ADDITIVE team expects the cost issue to impact polymer and metal printing differently. First, there are more and more powerful and relatively affordable desktop polymer printers that can be used to implement prototypes or even small series, for example in dental technology. This means that the investment hurdle for in-house solutions in plastics printing is becoming much lower. In metal printing, too, there are new systems that are smaller and less expensive than their predecessors. However, metal additive manufacturing remains relatively cost-intensive compared to polymer printing and requires a lot of design and manufacturing expertise. As a result, we suspect that many companies will tend to leave metal printing in the hands of service providers initially. Once the process and the products it produces have proven themselves, companies will eventually invest in their own capacities.

Your Opinion is Needed!

With your help, the MISSION ADDITIVE team would like to find out which theses are really true and in which direction additive manufacturing will continue to develop. As a participant in the market research, you will receive a summary of the results on request. You also have the chance to win an original Prusa 3D printer worth EUR299. In addition, MISSION ADDITIVE will be giving away two technical books worth EUR50 each and two vouchers for EUR25 each from the online printing platform shapeways.com.

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