Additive Manufacturing

From Boston Consulting Group:  “Additive manufacturing (AM), commonly known as 3D printing, is on the verge of being widely adopted in industrial manufacturing. . . .By 2015, it had grown to approximately $5 billion. We forecast that it will grow at a compound annual rate of almost 30% through 2020, achieving a greater than threefold increase in size. If AM processes were adopted for approximately 1.5% of the total addressable manufacturing market by 2035, the AM market would exceed $350 billion.”

Roughly half of additive manufacturing is aerospace, medical and dental and automotive, but the potential applications are bounded only by creativity.  “Aerospace manufacturers use AM processes to optimize the shape of parts and create lightweight structures in order to reduce fuel costs. These objectives are, by far, the most important drivers of AM adoption in the aerospace industry.”  “The approach—which entails tool-free manufacturing—reduces the time required for development, production, and delivery, as well as the quantity of materials and tools required in development and production.”

“By the end of 2025, AM will likely be in wide use in the production of orthopedic implants, dental applications, surgical guides, and medical instruments. For example, we forecast that the AM market for orthopedics and prosthetics will exceed $3.5 billion in 2025. Looking further into the future, we expect that the use of 3D printing to produce drugs, tissue, and organs will become a reality.”

Automotive “manufacturers can both enable customization and lower costs that arise from the increasing number and complexity of product variants. Additionally, AM allows manufacturers to reduce the number of assembly groups, integrate multiple functions into a single part, and produce lightweight designs. And, by using AM to make spare parts and tools for discontinued product variants, manufacturers can reduce the need to maintain inventories of infrequently requested items.”

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