The 3D Printing Industry Executive Survey, conducted annually, gathers opinions from analysts, academics, CEOs, CTOs, and the top industrial additive manufacturing companies.
This year, more than 80 experts shared their predictions on how 3D printing will develop in the year 2023. Here are the responses that were given on future of 3d printing:
The macroeconomic and environmental factors influencing the global industrial and manufacturing scene, as well as technological advancements and market trends relevant to our sector, should all be taken into account because 3D printing does not work in a vacuum.
China’s reopening is anticipated to be the year’s most important economic event in 2023. For the majority, the nation has been closed for over three years. While the first quarter is anticipated to be unsettling while a transition takes place, the return of trade is expected to increase GDP. Comparing Q1 2023 to the same period the following year, HSBC predicts a 10% increase. Nonetheless, lockdown will continue to have long-lasting repercussions, some of which are particularly pertinent to the 3D printing industry.
It will be fascinating to observe how businesses like Bright Laser Technologies and Farsoon continue to grow both domestically and internationally inside China. How will AM be implemented at scale in such a significant industrial economy, and will Chinese businesses be able to realise the benefit of additive manufacturing from design possibilities? International businesses will undoubtedly be eager to do business in a China that has been reopened. They will also be interested in how the market will change as end users become more sophisticated and start to compare systems based on criteria other than price, such as tolerances, speed, and repeatability.
The pandemic’s impact on supply chains has forced a reevaluation of 3D printing for distributed and local manufacturing. In North America, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the CHIPS and Science Act-supported reindustrialization of the USA will be widely followed. The CHIPS Act provides an additional $280 billion to support high-tech research and the reshoring of semiconductor production, while the IRA is expected to allow spending of $393 billion on climate change and decarbonization initiatives.
CORE Industrial Partners, a private equity group now building up a manufacturing portfolio, may benefit from such re-industrialization. Sustainability initiatives elsewhere, including Germany’s Decarbonisation of Industry, sponsored by €177 billion, appear to offer prospects for the use of additive.
Morris Chang of TMSC recently stated that “Free trade is nearly dead” due to protectionism, but others have warned that this redrawing of geopolitical power lines due to access to technology will result in inefficiencies and duplication of economic activity. How will AM systems, which have the capacity to produce such a wide range of goods, operate in this paradigm shift?
Consolidation in the 3D printing sector is either well underway or imminent, as many of the respondents below highlight. Expect players in the very competitive desktop FDM and LCD resin markets to try to stand out by reclassifying their products and focusing on business users. Existing 3D printing enterprises may leverage the impending recession to buy competitors’ undervalued assets by taking advantage of a drop in price since they may already have sizable cash reserves. With falling share prices, recently IPO’d SPAC companies might become more appealing to corporate acquirers. The wider manufacturing community is also interested in the potential of AM, as Nikon’s acquisition of SLM Solutions demonstrates.
A record number of additive manufacturing systems are expected to be installed in 2023, and validation of applications in industries with strict regulatory requirements, such healthcare and aerospace, is progressing quickly. As trade exhibitions made a comeback in 2022, scale—apparently the holy grail of AM—was on everyone’s mind. The pursuit of manufacturing in large quantities will continue, and the impact of private pilot programmes will grow. Higher capacity 3D printing equipment, improved reliability and repeatability, an expanded ecosystem of post-processing, and the integration of useful data will all help scale.
The application of AI in the 3D printing sector will be a major trend to watch. The speed of ChatGPT’s climb is remarkable, and generative picture programmes like Midjourney and DALL-E have fanned the imagination. Nvidia has shown off AI tools that can generate 3D models from text input, and 2023 will undoubtedly witness the growth of AI applications for additive manufacturing.
Continue reading for advice from the pros.
Dr. Jeffrey Graves is the CEO and President of 3D Systems.
In order to lower manufacturing costs, improve product design flexibility, and limit supply chain risks, businesses have continued to use additive manufacturing (AM) into their production processes. In the upcoming year, I predict there will be a major uptick in the usage of AM to speed up innovation in the pharmaceutical, industrial, and healthcare sectors.
Because in large part to the highly regulated nature of this sector, healthcare continues to adopt AM to supply individualised healthcare solutions at a moderate rate. Leading medical device companies are already producing patient-specific implants, instruments, and surgical guides made of both metals and polymers that are tailored to the geometry of particular bones. I predict that as the year goes on, more hospitals will start bringing AM inside their buildings to handle a variety of applications, such as orthopaedics, dental, and surgical instrumentation. Hospitals may be able to speed up time to part in hand by using AM at the point of care, which will eventually help them provide patient care more effectively. AM at the point of care has the potential to tighten supply chains.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of firms using metal additive manufacturing (AM) in industrial markets, especially in the aerospace and energy sectors. I think such activity will continue, helped along by the growing use of composite materials in production-related applications. The development of the materials and 3D printing technology will make this possible. I predict that manufacturers will be able to rely on new AM solutions in the coming year that are made especially for mass production, allowing them to speed up their workflows in ways that weren’t before feasible.
Finally, a lot of businesses are working on innovative bioprinting technologies to change the way therapies are created and patient care is provided. I predict that employing bioprinted human tissue models to speed up drug discovery and development will result in substantial advancements in 2023. Early in the development process, the ability to precisely imitate the human response to an experimental medicine in the lab can considerably speed up the process of bringing a new treatment to market and may eventually replace the requirement for animal testing.
Guy Menchick, Stratasys’ Chief Technical Officer
First, the development of materials for additive manufacturing is accelerating significantly (AM). We continue to see new uses for 3D printing as it advances, particularly in end-use parts, which naturally draws the interest of material producers. This in turn creates new industrial applications; it’s a positive feedback loop that Stratasys will keep pursuing. For our FDM systems, for instance, we are now able to deliver more than a dozen new materials this year alone, as opposed to the previous requirement of bringing new materials to market every 18 months. involving our partners and us. This long-term goal also includes strategic alliances and acquisitions, which enable us to increase our own knowledge of materials, such as through the upcoming acquisition of Covestro’s AM materials business.
Second, we are witnessing a “scaling up” of additive manufacturing across the board in the sector. Production-quality parts can already be produced, and in the future, this process will only accelerate and become more efficient. This is making it easier for companies all over the world to incorporate additive manufacturing into their production processes. But we also need to consider the software that makes these advancements possible, in addition to the hardware. In the upcoming years, Industry 4.0 integration will undoubtedly be crucial for scheduling, monitoring, maintenance, quality assurance, and more.