3D Printing Trends: Six Major Developments

3D Printing

Time is currently the most valuable resource we have. Companies must shorten development cycles in order to innovate and put new ideas into practise quickly and agilely in light of competitive pressures and changing business models. The capacity to deliver 3D printed products that are true to their mechanical qualities, a new class of better-performing machines, and other advancements have made 3D printing a significant time- and money-saving choice for design and manufacture.

The manufacturing of items has the potential to change thanks to 3D printing, which has existed since its inception. Flexibility, design freedom, time to market, mass customisation, distributed manufacturing, and many more advantages have strategic consequences. Even though there are still difficulties, 3D printing’s advantages are becoming clearer.

Use Cases for 3D Printing Are Skyrocketing

In comparison to conventional manufacturing techniques, three decades of 3D printing may not seem like much time, but additive manufacturing has had a profoundly disruptive impact on a variety of industries.

The information we discovered in our initial poll back in 2017 contrasts starkly with the findings we’ve discovered in our past two surveys. The use of 3D printing has risen even in the last two years. Our study unequivocally shows that the acceptance and use of additive manufacturing are on the rise.

Rapid prototyping was our members’ most often cited use of 3D printing technology in 2017, according to our survey. Nearly seven out of ten respondents at the time said they were employing 3D printing for this purpose. Only three out of ten people chose the runner-up, which was by far the least popular choice (jigs, fixtures and tooling). Use-cases have multiplied since that time.

The most common 3D printing application now is research and development, which has exceeded prototyping, while all other use cases have seen significant growth. Since 2017, the proportion of businesses using additive manufacturing to create production parts, jigs, fixtures, and tooling has about doubled, while the utilisation of the technology for production parts has almost tripled.

Nearly all participants (100%) claim to utilise 3D printing to create functional or end-use parts. Naturally, the intensity of what they do varies. Almost 80% claim that at least 25–50% of the functional or end-use products they make use additive manufacturing.

The advancements made in 3D printer technology are enabling businesses to experiment with 3D printing uses that were previously impractical. 3D printers will become more affordable to alter the whole industrial sector as their price drops and their ability to scale mass production quickly rises.

Growth Projections for the 3D Printing Industry are Higher Than Ever

Future prospects for 3D printing are very promising. The manufacturing stakeholders involved in 3D printing decisions anticipate substantial growth. Ninety-seven percent of firms surveyed believe that within the next five years, their use of 3D printing will increase.

The majority of interviewees said they anticipate 3D printing usage at their organisation will at least double over that time. Nearly half predict that their use will double, and nearly four out of ten predict that the growth would be significant (five times or more). Once again, the accessibility of the technology will fuel this rise in addition to the practice’s increasing acceptance across the board in the business.

Expectations are high to employ 3D printing for production parts or items, even though businesses strive to increase their entire 3D printing capabilities. A little over 80% of respondents anticipate that within the next five years, the utilisation of additive manufacturing for production parts will at least double.

Brands are Enjoying a Wide Range of 3D Printing Benefits

Rapid prototyping was our members’ most often cited use of 3D printing technology in 2017, according to our survey. Nearly seven out of ten respondents at the time said they were employing 3D printing for this purpose. Only three out of ten people chose the runner-up, which was by far the least popular choice (jigs, fixtures and tooling). Use-cases have multiplied since that time.

We may not have relied on additive manufacturing to get through the COVID-19 issue, thus the recent increase in optimism about 3D printing is not likely a coincidence. Companies with 3D printing skills came in to produce and scale up desperately needed but all-too-rare medical personal protective equipment (PPE), such respirators and face shields, as the pandemic spread. By safely accelerating prototype and design, 3D printing assisted in the development of novel diagnostic tools and testing kits.

The capacity to deliver parts more quickly was cited as additive manufacturing’s top advantage by survey respondents. In reality, our Auburn Hills facility’s decision to start employing additive printing to meet their tooling needs was motivated by a desire to avoid the time-consuming, iterative process of switching back and forth between tooling and design. They were able to reduce expenses by printing the precise geometry they need rather than removing extra material, which not only helped them speed up the manufacturing process. In reality, they cut delivery time by 80% and saved 30–40% on tooling.

John Wahl VI, a tooling engineer at Auburn Hills, said, “Having this [3D printing] capability within our plant] has substantially improved every element of the process. The first is time, followed by more creativity, expense, and materials, in that order.

We found that executives are more positive about the advantages of 3D printing than team managers when we examined the data by job level. This reinforces the predictions that 3D printing will continue to expand, as CEOs are the ones who create the company’s future ideas (and finances).

Accessible 3D Printing Material Options are Surging

Since 2019, there has been a sharp rise in the variety of 3D printing materials that businesses are using. While plastics and polymers currently dominate, other materials have made significant progress in catching up. This is consistent with our observation that use cases are growing.

The difference between 3D printing in metal and plastic isn’t as great as you might imagine when it comes to primary use. More than a third of respondents said they use plastics and metals equally, and even among those who said they use only one material—plastics or metals—plastics only led by around 10%.

Naturally, obstacles still need to be overcome before some resources can be fully accessed. Nearly twice as many respondents as in 2019 said that it takes too long to develop the materials they need. A significantly higher percentage of respondents also mentioned that some materials are uncertified, unusable, or too expensive to utilise on a large scale.

But interest in various 3D printing materials is great once those difficulties are overcome — or reduced. Plastics continue to be the material of choice when comparing what is being used to what is desired. The urge to use virtually all other materials, however, outweighs the actual use. In particular, there is a 20% increase in interest in using glass, a 14% increase in interest in using ceramics, and a 10% increase in interest in using metals compared to present usage. It will be interesting to see how the use of additive materials changes over the next two years in light of these discoveries.

Companies Still Need to Solve Problems with Additive Manufacturing

Despite the excitement for the expansion of additive manufacturing, 3D printing obstacles have not yet been fully overcome by businesses. Only nearly two-fifths of respondents this year cited “cost of materials” as a problem, compared to roughly half of those who responded in 2019. Few issues stand out considerably from the rest; the most are around 40%.

Though it makes sense given that 95% of respondents indicated financial impediments to additive manufacturing, many of the current issues are connected to cost. The first step is obtaining the necessary credentials and certifications, but capital expenses for equipment and the need to develop in-house knowledge come in close second.

The expense of pre- and post-processing was the biggest problem in 2021. It certainly seem that businesses are diversifying their pre- and post-processing techniques. A little more than half of respondents reported using machining in 2019; currently, nearly three-quarters do, ousting polishing as the most popular choice. Given the large increase in all processing techniques, it’s possible that businesses are going through some growing pains, but as long as they continue to prioritise this, these problems will go away.

Companies Are Prioritizing In-House Expertise

About three-quarters of survey respondents currently conduct their own additive manufacturing. In light of the fact that only 50% of survey participants identified “lack of in-house expertise” as a challenge, compared to the 2019 survey, we can infer that businesses are giving priority to either training their staff members in additive manufacturing or hiring people with prior knowledge and experience in 3D printing service Malaysia.

This doesn’t imply that companies are against outsourcing their additive manufacturing; in fact, nearly all of them said they would give it some thought. Companies look at a variety of factors when evaluating possible manufacturing partners. The ability to design is at the top of the list, but scalability, cost, and experience are all closely behind.

The American manufacturing sector relied on low-tech labour that was primarily driven by human strength and endurance from the 1950s to the 1980s. Since then, we’ve advanced from being purely human-made to being both human and machine-made. The entire supply chain is gradually integrating 3D printing.

We continue to observe rapid expansion in various sectors of the 3D print service Malaysia. Others are showing slight rises. Four years ago, few businesses depended on additive manufacturing for large-scale production; they saw little purpose for 3D printing designs Malaysia beyond quick and affordable 3D printing service cost. But in just four years, we’ve already seen a shift in that, and as we work through challenges with additive manufacturing materials and use-cases, 3D printing is certain to revolutionise numerous product industries and continue to grow the market. Even while it may not develop in sudden leaps and bounds, additive manufacturing is quietly gaining ground and is here to stay. This is the digital manufacturing industry.

Here at Dezpad, we pride ourselves in being a company that provides excellent 3D printing service in Malaysia. If you are looking for a company to start a 3D printing service, Join us and book your first consultation with us today.

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