3D printing can revolutionize the manufacturing process. Flexibility, design freedom, time-to-market, mass customization, distributed production, and other advantages have strategic consequences. 3D printing is a significant time- and cost-saving option for design and manufacturing, with new, better-performing machines, more materials available, and a greater capacity to create 3D printed products that are close to their mechanical properties.
Key Trends that will impact the 3D printing industry
- The new era of Faster, Bigger, and cheaper 3D printing
Rapid advancements in 3D printing technology have prompted the development of more powerful, affordable printers. Simultaneously, increased demand for specialized materials that can meet the required qualities of end parts will drive the creation of innovative materials.
The capacity to handle a wider range of advanced materials is a significant feature of new-generation printers, particularly industrial-grade versions. This makes it possible for more companies to gain from 3D printing.
Although equipment prices remain high, faster printing speeds are driving down the cost of parts. Additionally, the adaptability of 3D printing is expanding due to features like dual-extrusion printheads.
- Additive Manufacturing Role in supply chain
Manufacturers must have access to various printers and materials and establish relationships with other professionals in the field to fully benefit from additive manufacturing.
Furthermore, interoperability among different systems has become critical to realizing the full potential of 3D printing. In 2022 and beyond, automated manufacturing, post processing, and integrated usability will become more crucial.
AM can establish a new method for managing supply chains. 3D printing would be part of a comprehensive and secure platform in which various steps—from product design to materials to digital inventory to production and delivery—would be merged into a seamless process. The creation and utilization of these platforms will contribute to the shift to digital production and the implementation of Industry 4.0.
- Development of Manufacturing Ecosystem
Partnerships can generate mutual benefits and synergies, resulting in a better product for end users. This has shown to be a key facilitator of industrial production scale in 3D printing. However, we see a need for a more comprehensive collaboration in 2022. Standards must be developed collaboratively, printer and postprocessing systems must be compatible, and production data collected may lead to improved printers and materials.
To achieve the best results for all parties concerned, close collaboration is necessary. The next phase in AM improvement is the creation of a global ecosystem that connects service providers, material manufacturers, and print farms.
- Security concerns and quality assurance
Additive manufacturing is continuing to alter manufacturing as more organizations use the technology for part production. Companies need reassurance that their 3D-printed products meet specific quality requirements for industrial manufacturing.
Additionally, data ownership will be very important. It’s important to keep the intellectual property in the right hands. Data management will be essential as the industry transitions into the digital age. Organizations must also enforce manufacturing parameters by encrypting the data to ensure that the required quantity and material are used to make the parts. Manufacturing data collection and analysis allows for speedy error detection, process improvement, and compliance with all quality standards.
- The need to create a strong supply chain
3D printing has already been employed to solve these challenges, and its use is expected to rise. The technology offers shorter, stronger, and more robust supply chains by decentralizing supply networks and producing on-demand close to the consumer location.
The supply chain’s weak link is physical inventory; therefore, the ability to store items digitally rather than physically in a warehouse minimizes the need for storage and transportation. Once an item is ordered, it can be immediately dispatched to the best fitting, most appropriate production partner based on location, capabilities, and capacity using a digital warehouse. Parts can be manufactured anywhere by lowering CO2 emissions in logistics and boosting supply chain resilience
- Implementation of sustainable 3D printing
Sustainable production and supply chains are becoming more and more essential due to end-user demands, governmental requirements, and even moral obligations. This is also prevalent in 3D printing, which has the potential to reduce waste during production. Engineers can dramatically reduce the end part’s weight by designing it for 3D printing, minimizing the material required for production.
Carbon dioxide emissions during transportation are minimized by placing production closer to the next step in the supply chain. Furthermore, there will be an increase in the use of sustainable 3D printing materials such as recycled, reusable, and biodegradable plastics.