A look at the shifting trends in additive manufacturing

by Robert Grace (exclusively for K-MAG)

Carbon Inc.’s Continuous Liquid Interface Production™ © Carbon Inc.

Carbon Inc.’s Continuous Liquid Interface Production™ (or CLIP™), is a photochemical process that cures liquid plastic resin into solid parts using ultraviolet light. It works by projecting light through an oxygen-permeable window into a reservoir of UV-curable resin. © Carbon Inc.

The pandemic has proven to be a double-edged sword for the additive manufacturing (AM) sector.

Terry Wohlers, President Wohlers Associates

Terry Wohlers, President Wohlers Associates, © Wohlers

Survey: In the last year, approximately, how many parts has your company produced by using 3D printing?

The survey replies indicate that almost 95% of companies are using 3D printing to produce at least 1,000 parts. Half of survey participants said they use AM for 1,000-50,000 parts. Source: Jabil report “3D Printing Technology Trends”

Taking heroic action

The sector forges on

Survey result "Which AM process was most profitable for you in 2020?"

Wohlers Associates asked service providers which AM process was the most profitable for them in 2020. The top ranking of “Other” indicates that nearly a quarter of the surveyed companies said their most profitable AM process is from less-established system manufacturers. © Wohlers Report 2021

A material shift

The value of AM part production among independent service providers continues to soar. Source: Wohlers Report 2021

The value of AM part production among independent service providers continues to soar. Source: Wohlers Report 2021

AM’s most profitable processes

Jabil’s look at 3D trends

Survey: What are your expectations regarding the use of 3D printing in the next 3-5 years?

In 2021, 81% of participants responded that they expect use of 3D printing to at least double in the next three to five years, while 79% said the same in 2019. Source: Jabil report “3D Printing Technology Trends”

Some of the Jabil study’s key findings included:

Material insights

Survey result: Plastics and polymers are still the most widely used materials, but the gap to other materials is getting smaller.

While plastics and polymers continue to be most widely used, the gap between them and other materials is narrowing. Source: Jabil report “3D Printing Technology Trends”

Robert Grace, USA

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