Production-scale use of 3D printing at ‘tipping point’

A study about additive manufacturing released in mid-March by Essentium Inc. and Dimensional Research concludes that confidence in and deployment of industrial-scale 3D printing (3DP) is at a tipping point among users.

The study, “3D Printing at Scale,” reveals that 22 percent now use 3D printing for full-scale production runs of parts and 36 percent expect to in the future. Sixty-one percent use 3DP for prototyping work; 58 percent expect to do so in the future.

Besides reducing manufacturing costs, the transformational impact on manufacturing from industrial-scale 3DP is expected to be far-reaching, according to the survey findings. Forty-three percent of respondents believe it will make the mass-customization of products possible, 39 percent expect to gain a competitive advantage from a dramatic acceleration in the cycle of design to proof of concept to mass production, and 38 percent expect to bring the manufacturing supply chain closer to the customer as outsourcing production of parts to other geographies for economic purposes becomes redundant.

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