An aerospace blisk in 316L from Meltio metal additive manufacturing. Photo by Michael Petch.
Arno G. Held, Managing Partner, AM Ventures
In the next 10 years, Additive Manufacturing is going to establish its place as THE manufacturing technology which is going to support the transition to a sustainable and resource-efficient civilization. Today’s biggest potential applications – be it heat exchangers, lightweight structural components, or electric motors – will then be actual applications. To achieve this, industry participants will have realized that we all need to work together and overcome the big challenges of quality control, cross-platform repeatability, and recycling of materials.
Dr. Jeffrey Graves, President & CEO, 3D Systems
I expect mass customization will not only be an important trend for 2022 but the coming decade. While many organizations aspire to take advantage of additive manufacturing’s ability to produce large quantities of distinct parts, I don’t think every organization has fully understood how to integrate AM into its workflow. As we see a broader acceptance of additive alongside traditional technologies, I anticipate we’ll also see manufacturers of all sizes embracing AM for mass customization.
To facilitate the integration of AM into existing workflows, I believe machine learning will play a critical role. It is not enough to introduce design flexibility, speed to market, or supply chain efficiency offered by additive manufacturing. For companies to maintain their competitive position, they need to have a smart manufacturing strategy to introduce AM effectively and efficiently into their overall manufacturing workflow. As more companies adopt smart manufacturing solutions, I expect they will see how machine learning can enable autonomous manufacturing – thus helping improve productivity, and enhance capacity to introduce scalability and flexibility into processes.
Focusing our perspective on the next decade even further, I expect that we’ll continue to see additive manufacturing drive remarkable advancements in the transformation of healthcare delivery. AM has already demonstrated its power in this industry to enable patient-specific healthcare with unique solutions to create surgical plans and medical devices. I’m very excited about the next frontier in healthcare where bioprinting plays an important role. Over the past year, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of entrants to this field, whether it be research organizations or private and public companies. We’ve seen the scope of the research efforts broaden to include new printing technologies and new materials designed to assist in drug discovery, the creation of tissues, and hopefully one day, producing transplantable human organs. I believe we’re on the precipice of amazing advancements in this arena and look forward to what we’re able to influence and achieve as an industry.
Avi Reichental, co-founder & CEO, Nexa3D
AM will play a key role in reversing global warming through light-weighting, carbon footprint reduction from localization, lower energy consumption, and waste reduction, as well as transition to plant-based materials.
Over the next decade, AM will become a cost-effective and practical tool that covers the entire product life cycle from concept models to aftermarket spares and everything in between including the holy grail: volume production.
AM will go large, becoming an effective fabrication tool for planes, trains, automobiles, and homes – and also small for atomic structures.
We will get closer to a “replicator” state, particularly in bioprinting.
Kristin Mulherin, General Manager, Powder Products, Nexa3D & President Women in 3D Printing
Sustainability and the circular economy have been hot topics of 2021, and I only expect this to accelerate through the decade. Not only is additive manufacturing an enabler of a circular economy but adopting the tenets of a circular economy is necessary for the industry to fully thrive. Aside from the increasing environmental pressures, efficient recycling of materials, both plastic, and metal, is critical to reducing the costs for production-scale printing. The high cost of the raw materials for 3D printing is arguably one of the biggest hindrances of AM becoming a true mainstream manufacturing method. And until we can effectively and efficiently reduce or nearly eliminate material waste, and consequently bring these costs down, real high-volume printing will likely remain cost-prohibitive.
Didier Deltort, President, HP Personalization & 3D Printing Business
There is a historic shift in consumer behavior underway. And personalization and sustainability are lifelines for brands looking to stand out in increasingly competitive markets. Traditional product design, manufacturing, and supply chains are ill-suited to meet these demands. In the coming years, as we continue to improve additive manufacturing solutions, more brands, both small and large, will embrace new automated, higher performance, data-driven innovations that are ubiquitously connected to complex design, ordering, and logistics systems. This all enables us to bring both mass-personalization and sustainable manufacturing into a scalable reality.
Chris Connery, VP of Global Analysis, CONTEXT
Time and time again, shipment trends show that the industrial 3D printing market grows with each new innovation. Innovation can come by way of a new spin on existing technologies, by existing players expanding their product portfolios with complimentary technologies or by net-new technologies being introduced to the market. New products in new categories – especially when well marketed by established players, by well-funded start-ups – sell.
End-markets are always eager to investigate technological advances to try to find the silver-bullet technology to give them the competitive edge. Expectations are that in the same manner that Carbon’s spin on Vat Photopolymerization technology or Markforged’s spin on Material Extrusion technology helped the market to grow, other vendors will find new enhancements to the 7-core additive manufacturing technologies. In the same manner, as we are now seeing Stratasys expand its polymer portfolio to now include Vat Photopolymerization and Powder Bed Fusion, we can expect other manufacturers to self-develop or acquire tangential technologies and aggressively bring them to market.
Brian Thompson, CAD Division Vice President and General Manager, PTC
In the next decade, we expect to see the digital thread come into full force and become the DNA of smart factories, with additive manufacturing playing a major role in the transformation of end-to-end industrial production.
As AM standards continue to develop, and with the certification and qualification of more materials, processes, and parts, more industries will adopt end-use volume production. We will also start to see multi-material printing and part consolidation become more ubiquitous.
From a technological standpoint, we also expect to see major breakthroughs in the field of bioprinting and regenerative medicine, whether it is the creation of complex tissues, or even drug development.
Kathy Bui, Product Lead, Engineering Business, Formlabs
The last two years have shown us exactly how fragile and important supply chains are. AM/3DP has already stepped in to help support and strengthen supply chains, but the next decade will usher in an even greater role for AM/3DP in supporting traditional manufacturing techniques. Specifically, we’ll see more companies use 3D printing to create consumer-facing parts, produce custom manufacturing aids, and enable decentralized production. AM/3DP will never completely replace traditional mass production, but in the next decade, we’ll see the technology take on more and more processes historically handled by traditional manufacturing.
Franco Cevolini, CEO & CTO, CRP Technology
In the next few years it will be necessary to address the issue of sustainability. The fact that AM is already a leaner, “lighter” and agile method of manufacturing is certainly already an advantage over traditional technologies. But it will be necessary to work on sustainability at the production level of the AM supply chain: from the materials to the use of electric power, which must come from renewable sources as much as possible. This will be one of the themes of the future, too.
Stephan Kühr, Founder and CEO, 3YOURMIND
In terms of manufacturing in 10 years, I envision new collaborative business models facilitated by digital platforms and technologies around the world. AM/3D will be implemented at all manufacturers for prototyping, but especially, for mass production. Barriers related to AM knowledge, quality certification, data collection will be lifted. These new Industry 5.0 factories will be sustainable, connected, and digitized. Through this, I hope creativity will become limitless; new form manufacturing (additive, hybrid, etc.) will be fully integrated with artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital twins will push us to discover the limits of IoT, and ultimately, determine no limits exist! I can’t wait to see this!
Frank Roberts, President, 6K Additive
Technology across the AM supply chain from materials to machines to post-processing as well as software will significantly add value to organizations as more applications move to production. Specifically for materials, we see an ever-evolving suite of high-performance metal materials that will enable rockets to go faster and run at extreme temperatures, that will allow medical applications that will significantly improve patient care, and allow doctors to perform surgery with implants made from the most exotic materials. Materials will also be made from high-entropy alloys that today are in their infancy. And while new materials will emerge, the sustainability commitment from material manufacturers and customers will be as important as the quality and cost factors.
Kaj Fuehrer, CEO, enter2net.com
In the future, additive manufacturing will conquer ever-larger shares of the total manufacturing volume. A new driver is the stabilisation of logistics chains through local and decentralised manufacturing. On the way to a sustainable and cost-efficient implementation in the manufacturing industry, 3D printing will lose its special status as a new technology “where everything is different” and will be integrated into the complete value chain, especially using automation and industrial IoT concepts. This assumes that the major challenges regarding material costs and qualification, print speed and quality as well as integration of the AM processes in standard software will be addressed, which I firmly believe to be the case.
Joseph Crabtree, CEO and Founder, AMT
As we look forward to the next decade, we expect a period of consolidation in the AM industry. Several ‘traditional’ manufacturing companies will start to make plays in the AM space and increase in M&A activity will occur. We expect that a reset of the frothy markets of the last 2 years will drive this consolidation of companies with only those with viable long term business profitable growth sustainability being able to ride the wave. This will lead to the ultimate growth and expansion of the AM industry and will lead to 3D Printing being ‘just another manufacturing technology’ – I.e. the ultimate acceptance that we have all been looking for.
Dr. Robert Gmeiner, CEO & Chief Technology Officer, Cubicure
The current decade will likely see a transition from technology bets to an intense focus on measurable added value rooted in realistic production scenarios.
Vertical markets will be the first to feature sustainable AM success stories. While mergers will continue – technology-wise as well as company-wise – a genuine AM industry is about to rise.
In the past, the attention in polymer AM was clearly focused on FDM and powder-based printing processes. The biggest turnover in industrial AM production has however always been connected to resin-based 3D printing. The next decade will further reflect this economical fact: photocurable materials are quickly evolving into polymers fulfilling high-grade technical requirements for multiple industries. Individualized mass production will continue to play an ever-growing role in patient- and consumer-related products. At the same time, full series additive manufacturing of small and complex parts will grow tremendously in sectors such as electronics and connectors.
Production flexibility and risk reduction are essential for all industries even now and will remain so in the future.
Daeho Hong, Product Manager, nTopology
Through the next decade, mass customization will become a standard for many more applications than we see today (e.g. medical devices and high-end sports equipment). As AM material and production costs continue to drop, we will likely see some supply chain disruption as parts printed locally become more cost-effective than those shipped from global manufacturing hubs. We will also see an expansion of the AM materials portfolio, with the availability of new AM alloys, polymers, and hybrid/metamaterials. Advancements in additive hardware will enable printing with minimal to no human involvement, and many printers will enable freeform fabrication that builds parts from all directions instead of stacking layers in the z-axis.
Gil Lavi, Founder & CEO, 3D Alliances
For the next decade, I see two trends: the first one is the acceleration of R&D in the development of new AM capabilities, which will result in exciting technologies that will offer higher throughput, dedicated materials for specific applications, higher accuracy, and repeatability, or in other words, better compatibility for real production needs. 2021 was a big leap for many companies that raised funds/decided to go public when part of the capital is targeted for developing new products. The second trend is the adoption of AM in new applications in non-standard/traditional industries such as construction, food, fashion, space, and others’.
Oliver Smith, Founder, Principal Consultant, Rethink Additive
If the 2010s were the decade 3D printing grew up, the 2020s will be the decade it goes public. Just in the past 24 months alone, there has been a flood of capital into the industry that is driving both a stark acceleration of new platform developments, as well as stimulating M&A activity, and there shows no sign of stopping. I would argue that this renewed investment interest in the technology has been spurred by the significant degree of positive press demonstrating how 3D printing has provided solutions to critical part shortages and supply chain disruptions, but unlike the investment hype wave of 10 years ago, this second wave is sustainable with so many 3D printing technologies capable of being deployed in direct production or production support applications. The next ten years will be an exciting time for technology vendors and investors, with a wave of public offerings ahead (several successful private vendors such as Formlabs already publicly stating their interest to IPO) alongside a consolidation amongst new entrant and legacy vendors through M&A.
An additional trend we expect to see at Rethink spurred on by the increased exposure of AM as a result of pandemic supply chain disruption is set to drive explosive growth this year and for the decade rides off the back of this new wave of awareness; financial investments in technology vendors. Once again 3D printing is a front-of-mind technology when discussing market disruption and factories of the future, and this has led to a wave of acquisitions, investments, and IPOs. With such an influx of capital, we are already seeing an acceleration in time-to-market for new technologies and platforms, as well as M&As amongst legacy vendors. With several more highly successful AM vendors publicly stating their intention to go public, whether, through a traditional public offering or a SPAC, we should expect the trend of M&As and IPOs to continue strong into 2023 and beyond, with not all likely to be sustainable.
Mohsen Seifi, Director of Global Additive Manufacturing Programs, Martin White, Head of Additive Manufacturing Programs – Europe Region, UK, Alexander Liu, Head of Additive Manufacturing Programs – Asia Region, Singapore, & Terry Wohlers, Head of Advisory Services and Market Intelligence, ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence
Over the next decade, we predict that AM will play a vital role in the pursuit of sustainability, supporting the global shift towards greener methods of manufacturing. This trend will help support economic and environmental goals set by governments around the world. Methods of AM will continue to be driven by market pull, such as the Net-Zero Carbon applications, particularly in transport and heavy industry.
On the applications front, the demand will continue to grow for larger parts, such as titanium bulkheads in aerospace, and large castings that compete with AM alternatives (both powder bed fusion and directed energy deposition). This will widen the supply chain, reduce the lead times for development of new platforms, and ultimately continue to offer reductions in cost.
Dr. Johannes Homa, CEO, Lithoz
With additive manufacturing growing into an ever more established production technique, we are already seeing companies successfully integrate this powerful technology into their workflow to complement their existing manufacturing methods. Soon, we will be seeing the creation of geographically independent, yet globally and digitally connected, production sites, which will be able to enter simultaneous serial manufacturing thanks to the digital production capabilities of 3D printing.
Additionally, there will be a stronger focus on quality and reliability in serial production than ever before. As more and more companies enter into serial production, it will become necessary for there to be a higher level of quality assurance and trust in the efficiency and capability of the additive manufacturing process; therefore, it will become a top focus of companies in this industry to make every step as reliable as possible. Finally, and as a result of the previous point, there will be a growing level of automation in the industry, eliminating human error and making the entire process more efficient and easier for both producers and customers.
Roger Uceda, Technology Transfer Director CIM-UPC & Co-Founder BCN3D
I strongly believe we will finally see mass production made with AM technology, and not only for custom products or high added value products, but for serialized products. For that, we still have some challenges to be addressed, such as first-time quality and final part price.
Henrike Wonneberger, COO and co-founder, Replique
Options for AM materials are already growing, with metal and high-temperature polymers in FDM printing being developed. Improvements in AM have already prompted a movement from prototyping to a main manufacturing method but we anticipate AM being used not only as a replacement for traditional manufacturing but as a whole new supply chain approach in the coming years. AM will be integrated into a holistic and secure platform where individual steps of 3D printing are combined into one process, from ordering the part, to delivering it to the customer. Advancements in AM software have improved quality control and now allow us to predict warping and excessive thermal stress before printing, minimizing printing defects and wasted materials. Simulation can be used to get the most out of materials, allowing designers to create shapes that would never be possible without 3D printing, developing new products that score with topology optimization and weight reduction.
Rush LaSelle, Senior Director, Additive Manufacturing, Jabil
The next decade of manufacturing will bring major transformations in digitized processes and applications implemented by global factories. The emergence of a more comprehensive digital ecosystem will propel the entire additive manufacturing industry forward by making small-lot production, including a batch-size of one, truly cost-effective for more consumer-oriented products. As a result, expect to see a democratization of manufacturing and localization that will better serve customers.
Luis Folgar, EVP Americas, AMT Inc.
The portfolio of plastic materials available for 3D Printing will have no limitations. Part quality and throughput will continue to increase proportionally. Due to lessons learned from supply chain disruptions, 3DP end-use parts will be the go-to only viable choice for many OEMs from automotive to medical. 3DP OEMs will offer fully automated end-to-end systems and technology solutions that keep the digital thread from design all the way to post-production and inspection of any 3D printed part.
Filemon Schoffer, co-founder and CCO, Hubs
New materials and material composites, lower pricing, and mature post-processing options will make it more viable to integrate 3D printing into production cycles. As the technology keeps developing, it provides an ever more competitive alternative to injection molding for low-volume plastic parts.
Even more exciting, advanced material composites, combined with the ability to produce highly complex geometries, will open up new manufacturing possibilities that have been impossible to unlock with traditional technologies (this is already happening!).
Kwang-Min Lee, Vice President, Carima
AM/3DP technology use cases and market size have been extremely expanded, but the application of AM/3DP for end-use part manufacturing in the machinery industry still has a way to go to full maturity.
In other words, apart from the use purpose of 3D prototyping, education, and R&D, many industrial companies are working to use and utilize it as alternative technology against their traditional production methods such as cutting processing and injection molding, but the thing is that 3D printing output speed is still a stumbling block compared to those methods.
Therefore, to target traditional production methods, the development of differentiated 3D printing technology is indeed needed to be prepared urgently, and it is likely that the AM/3DP market will be maintained for the next decade.
To prepare for this, almost all 3D printer manufacturers have been investing a lot of time and money in the development of the fastest 3D printing technology, but it is still difficult to get high-precision and repeatability at the same time.
The thing is that we, Carima have developed the C-CAT(Carima Continuous Additive Technology), which is the world’s fastest 3D printing technology that improved productivity by at least 20 times compared to the existing DLP technology, as one of the global 3D printer manufacturers. And we successfully demonstrated it in the formnext 2021. We aim to modernize it and commercialize new 3D printers with that technology in the next 1-2 years.
The C-CAT is the fastest 3D printing technology that enables DLP 3D printers to output 1cm per minute (60cm per hour) with high-precision and reproducibility. Our R&D team has improved the damage generated at the output to minimize release forces, and significantly lowered release energy compared to the existing process. With that improved C-CAT, more stable continuous additive manufacturing has become possible.
As I mentioned earlier, improving the 3DP working process and more robust 3DP technology development are absolutely necessary to secure a portion of the existing plastic or rubber part production industries. For that reason, based on our C-CAT and bespoke manufacturing, we plan to lead the era of mass customization for end-use products by accelerating the development of new 3D printer that can output various parts across industries such as glasses, shoes, consumer goods, and automotive interior and exterior parts, with printing at a speed of several tens of centimeters (CM) per hour.