DHL: 3D printing a ‘complementary’ manufacturing process, will not replace existing manufacturing methods

DHL, part of Deutsche Post, has just released its newest DHL Trend Report, entitled “3D Printing and the Future of Supply Chains.” The report, while offering an in-depth look at how 3D printing technologies will play a part in manufacturing and supply chain processes, is also a bit of a call down to earth for those toting the revolutionary potentials of additive manufacturing technology. That is, while 3D printing technologies and applications are undeniably growing and advancing, DHL suggests that additive manufacturing will not fully replace existing manufacturing methods (especially for mass production) but will be used more as a complementary process.

DHL, which has been working with 3D printing for years and has initiated pop-up 3D printing shops, has stated in its latest report that despite a projected growth to $180 billion to $490 billion by 2025, the 3D printing market will remain a complementary manufacturing process, used primarily for producing customized and small-batch complex parts rather than being adopted for mass manufacturing.

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