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3D Print Lab using Makerbot. Image © Makerbot

3D printing technology applications and trends in the supply chain across multiple industries

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Different industries are widely adopting 3D printing technologies, including aerospace, medical, automotive, fashion, science, architecture and many more, and this has contributed to a shift of 3D printing technologies from only prototyping purposes to production processes. In this context what are the key factors that will drive the use growth in the next few years?

3D Print Applications Statistics. Image © Makerbot
Data Aided Design received the “3D Printing Trends Report 2020” from Makerbot.
Rise 3D Printing Users. Image © Makerbot

A report by Makerbot about Trends for 3D printing technologies shows that customisation is the primary reason for users to adopt this technology. This in fact allows users to create custom parts or objects, print complex geometries and facilitate design iterations developments. This is achievable with most 3D printers on the market, but when selecting a specific 3D printer, the main comparison parameters to consider are printing accuracy and resolution, performance and reliability, material range, printer size and build volume.

“Similarly to other technologies, 3D printing will continue to play a larger role in the supply chain, delivering higher performance, increased speed, materials variety and decreased costs.”

In the shift from pure prototyping to production, 3D printers are used not only to visualize, iterate and test, but mainly to fabricate finished products or parts that can be placed on the market. From the Makerbot report about Trends for 3D printing technologies, the use of 3D printing is mainly applied for concept models, functional prototypes, research and development, manufacturing, as well as for educational purposes and mass production.

3D Printing Manufacturing Statistics. Image © Makerbot

The importance of investing in innovation in 3D printing technologies attracts many businesses and this will help develop this technology even further and create a stronger community of skilled people that can implement 3D printing technologies in their current businesses. Even the global pandemic showed how a massive shortage of medical equipment and personal protective devices could be supported by a community of designers and makers who, with the use of 3D printing, were able to provide supplies through on-demand production.

3D Print Lab using Makerbot. Image © Makerbot
3D Print Applications Statistics. Image © Makerbot
Rise 3D Printing Users. Image © Makerbot
3D Printing Manufacturing Statistics. Image © Makerbot
Francesca Silvi

Francesca Silvi

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