3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has a history that spans over four decades. Most people, however, only became aware of its existence in recent years as the technology finds traction with high-profile investors and niche applications. Even as recent as 2016, only 9% of businesses had 3D printing capabilities in-house. Today, more than 22,000 industrial 3D printers are installed across the world every year, with more than 40% of businesses using internal 3D printing capabilities regularly. Common business use cases include rapid prototyping, education, art and jewelry production.
Still, the potential of additive manufacturing has largely remained untouched, especially that of industrial 3D printing.
For 3D printing to corner its rightful place in the broader manufacturing world, a few challenges need to be resolved:
More capable machines that ensure repeatability and quality need to be introduced to the market.
Operators need to have access to more diverse materials that meet their specifications.
Additive design and manufacturing workflow need to be refined and understood by companies leveraging the technology.
In the Tricks of the Tradesman series, we take a closer look at the future of industrial 3D printing and the innovative minds leading the charge.
Also, CLICK HERE for a series of videos from the 2020 3D Printing Materials Panel.