Essentium, a Texas-based industrial 3D printing company, just released the findings of its independent survey, 3D Printing At Scale, conducted by Dimensional Research. The survey targeted manufacturing decision makers and 3D production stakeholders, and over half of the respondents said they’re already preparing for full-scale production runs with 3D printing. As more metals and industrial-grade composites are developed for additive manufacturing, production managers are taking note.
Nearly 90% feel that the economic benefit of adopting 3D printing for manufacturing will be in the billions of dollars. Here are some forward-looking expectations from the respondents:
- 38% believe 3D printing will bring manufacturing supply chains closer to customers
- 39% expect that a shorter design and proof of concept cycle will provide a competitive advantage
- 43% predict that 3D printing will enable the mass customization of products
And here’s a breakdown of their current activities:
- 61% use 3D printing for prototyping
- 60% use the technologies for producing jigs and other manufacturing tools
- 45% use 3D printing for limited run production parts
- 21% currently use 3D printing for full-scale production runs
The survey also inquired about obstacles that may need to be addressed for 3D printing to reach its potential in industrial and production applications. 42% responded that the cost of 3D printing technologies is still too high to efficiently scale. 31% felt that printed parts aren’t reliable enough, and 30% stated they have a lack of expertise. So there are hurdles to overcome, but they aren’t insurmountable. Many 3D printing companies have recently initiated outreach and education campaigns to help solve that last problem.
Essentium CEO, Blake Teipel, commented on the findings: “The potential of 3D printing in the $12 trillion market that makes up industrial manufacturing – including materials, design cycles, production, manufacturing, supply chain and innovation – is starting to be unlocked and will soon transform the way things are produced and the supply chains involved. The results of our survey validate this. It is also hugely encouraging to see how positively our market views the potential of industrial 3D printing and appears to be readying to embrace it.”
Go here for more survey findings