There are many aspects of 3D printing that are accelerating and expected to continue to aggressively advance in the next few years. Its impact is being felt from conceptualization through development and production into post production service and support. 3D printers are also being called additive manufacturing equipment with a projected transformational impact to traditional and existing / current production lines and manufacturing facilities. Currently a growing number of researchers, analysts and advisors are beginning to call 3D printing a “core technological enabler” for the current decade as well as a significant contributor to Industry 4.0 that this blog has mentioned before.
INSIGHT: The World Economic Forum (WEF) 2020 produced a document titled, “3D Printing: A Guide for Decision-Makers” and this clearly shows the level of interest and likely impact of this technology.
Mordor Intelligence reported in 2019, the global 3D printing market was valued at $13.7 billion USD. They went on to project that the global 3D Printing market, is estimated to grow to nearly $63.5 billion USD in 2025. Once again, like many emerging technologies, 3D printing has a robust compound annual growth rate (CAGR) and this time it is nearly 29.5% over the forecast period (2025). It should be noted that some regulations and restrictions are currently under consideration and that they have the potential to slow the projected growth.
The current major and dominant 3D printing market segments include the following:
NOTE: Human Tissue is an emerging market segment that stands to have huge implications. It could produce replacement human tissues and organs that do not experience rejection by our bodies.
It should be noted that nano-materials are expected to continue and produce elements for use in 3D printers as well as bio-materials and other technologies. This will continue to fuel application in industries such as aerospace, automotive, construction, consumer products, defense, dental, healthcare, industrial products, jewelry, manufacturing and so much more and that includes new products as well as supplying spare replacement parts.
CASE STUDY: An aging electro-mechanical system broke down and was in need of a replacement part. The model was no longer supported and would require 6 weeks to produce the replacement part by the original manufacturer. The system would be inoperable until the part arrived. One of the maintenance workers contacted a local 3D printing vendor and provided drawings of the part. The part was produced in a couple of days and cost much less than was quoted by the original manufacturer of the system. It should be noted that one professional expressed concern that this example could result in a legal dispute given the original system developer/manufacturer that designed and produced the product, may feel they own all the rights to it. An interesting legal consideration for sure.
Please contribute to the current 3D Printing utilization poll. LINK: https://www.projectmanagement.com/contentPages/poll.cfm?ID=607173&thisPageURL=/polls/607173/Has-or-is-your-organization-examined-or-is-examining-the-potential-implications-and-use-of-3D-printing-in-prototype-development-and-or-in-manufacturing-of-products-or-as-a-component-of-your-services-&msg=Your%20comment%20has%20been%20posted%20below%2E
Clearly, 3D printing as another emerging technology that will likely rapidly evolve over the next decade and create new capabilities that are used to produce products and services. We all know PMs will be the ones expected to bring these to reality. Just think about the overall impact on traditional supply-chains and the maintenance profession! Is 3D printing in your future? Certainly, something to think about.