Opinions and Predictions
Experts and leaders in the 3D printing industry are putting forth their opinions and predictions on the technology that has swept the world.
People in the industry are saying that we are going to see an increased adoption of 3D full-scale manufacturing. The speed, reliability and capability of 3D printing will significantly increase due to the advances in technology. 3D printing will sweep new countries, more companies will enter the marketplace with new materials, thus driving innovation, lowering costs and increasing materials diversity. Commercial applications will become more defined across major industries-automotive, medical, aerospace, consumer goods, heavy industry, etc.
While some leaders acknowledge the lead of aerospace in production part adoption, they say that the automotive sector will be catching up to aerospace with more and more parts in vehicles. Others reinforced the practical application of the technology, emphasizing its shift away from prototyping and towards end-use parts.
Major trends in design will be occurring in 2018. There will be massive investment in design for 3D printing. Understanding that design for additive manufacturing is key to it transforming from a very small part of manufacturing to a substantial part of the economy. Consolidating an entire assembly into a single 3D printed part can massively reduce the manufacturing cost, completely compress the supply chain and improve the performance within a single design change.
Polymers (plastics) and other 3D printing materials are also evolving along with the technology. There are also new materials being developed, specifically ceramics. the growth of materials in 3D printing will offer many viable solutions. Materials like aluminum alloy, precious metals, advanced thermopolymers, concrete, among others are developing. Large-scale, industrial 3D printers are being manufactured to deposit multiple materials simultaneously. And there are large-scale metal 3D printers that could usher in an era of fully automated 3D printing.
Metal 3D Printing
Another trend on the rise is metal 3D printing, which will never replace traditional manufacturing, but as a complimentary manufacturing technology, its position is becoming increasingly important. One vision of the future offered by 3D printing was that of mass customization, in which large runs of customer-specific products would be manufactured at once.
Robust Outlook in Seattle
The future looks robust for 3D printing, and so it is in Seattle. 3D Composites is looking to 2018 with our more innovative designs and range of materials, with better productivity and customer service.