3D Printing Trends Impacting Manufacturing Supply Chain

3D Printing Trends Impacting Manufacturing Supply Chain

Manufacturing Technology Insights | Friday, September 16, 2022

3D printing technologies are advancing manufacturing industries with their new approaches and developments that will radically increase the adoption of 3D printing technology in the near future

FREMONT, CA: The past years observed 3D printing or additive manufacturing (AM) becoming a serious and progressing manufacturing technology for prototypes and small or medium-sized series in manufacturing and the supply chain. This paved the way for various trends which are likely to impact the 3D printing industry and adopters of this technology in the future.

The New Period: Faster, Bigger, and Cheaper

3D printing or AM technologies are advancing rapidly and getting bigger, cheaper, and faster. Increasing demand for specialised materials to meet the required properties of end parts will lead to developments in the range and types of options available. The ability to handle a wide range of advanced materials is the key for new generation printers, especially industrial-grade solutions. This allows businesses to benefit from AM, which they previously could not.

Increased print speed is reducing parts’ prices irrespective of high machine costs. These advancements will likely accelerate as more companies utilise 3D printing technologies. The versatility of 3D printing is increasing with processes like dual extrusion, resulting in the uptake of 3D printing across various industries. Another trend to significantly drive development is printing without support structures, broadening the range of applications AM can provide.

3D Printing as an Integrated Supply Chain Approach

Manufacturers need materials and, more crucially, connections with other industry professionals, along with a large range of printers to leverage benefits. In addition, interoperability between different systems is important to optimise the potential of AM. Automation in production and post-processing and integrated usability will change industries' approaches towards manufacturing.

3D printing renders a new supply chain strategy as part of a holistic and secure platform where many steps combine into one process from concept to material, production, digital inventory, and delivery. As manufacturers move towards new industry settings, services offered with a fully automated and secure solution will drive this change further.

From Individual Partnerships to an Ecosystem

Collaborations can build mutual benefits and synergies, resulting in a greater product for end customers. This is a critical enabler for scaling industrial 3D printing production. The contemporary industrial sector seeks more holistic partnerships. This includes standards developed together, printer and post-processing systems capable of working together, and collected production data leading to enhanced materials and printers.

Close collaborations are essential to achieving the best solution, which includes an ecosystem that connects solution vendors, material producers, and print industries worldwide, which is the next step to building a better service. Close collaboration and permanent exchange help to offer customers the best solutions.

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