The latest survey from Essentium, Inc., a manufacturer of 3D printers and materials for industrial additive manufacturing (AM), demonstrates, among other things, that investments in industrial-scale 3D printing are now paying off.
The past year was a year in which additive manufacturing showed its worth, proving it could step in to make quantities of supplies at scale to keep assembly lines moving and the coming year will continue that development, according to this survey.
Companies reported wide-ranging benefits, including high part performance and cost reduction, each of which was cited by 46%, and speed-to-part, which was mentioned by 45% percent of the respondents.
Obstacles to AM adoption, however, remain. Specifically, 98% of manufacturing executives see value in improved materials, 37% said they are held back by the high cost of 3D printing materials, and 24% said 3D printing materials are unreliable. This implies that innovation continues to be essential in this area.
Some 20% of executives report that industrial-scale 3D printing hardware is too expensive, making it difficult to gain approval for capital investments; while 185 indicate they have too much investment in other manufacturing technology.
Essentium said it remains committed to working in an open ecosystem with its customers to address these challenges, ensuring the right economics for industrial-scale 3D printing and integration with existing machinery and work practices on the factory floor.
“Manufacturing companies have finally cracked the code of AM for full-scale production runs of hundreds of thousands of parts, and there will be no turning back,” said Blake Teipel, CEO and Co-founder, Essentium. "There is no longer any doubt whether AM investments deserve a central feature in the execution strategies of companies endeavouring to out-perform their peers.”
This was Essentium’s third such study, conducted by an independent research firm, Dimensional Research. The company also commissioned similar studies in 2018 and 2019 and certain questions were repeated from those studies to enable trend analysis. The responses to this survey were captured between 20 October and 2 November 2020.
The survey produced several categories of findings, which are being released at three different moments in time. The first findings were issued in November 2020. This second batch of findings was released on 2 February.