3D printing trends for 2021 include sustainability, scale, and uncertainty
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3D printing trends for 2021 include sustainability, scale, and uncertainty

Posted By Jonas Huggins     June 23, 2021    


Materialise recently published a report on the theme, trend, and outlook for the 3D printing industry in 2021. Now, let's take a look at the future of the industry for companies that have been in operation for more than 30 years.

1. Make 3D printing a more environmentally friendly option.

The power of multinational corporations is growing, but with that power comes greater responsibility. The 3D printing industry must also take into account the impact of technology on society and the environment. This means that when we develop new products and technologies to assist our customers in developing meaningful applications, we must prioritize sustainability as a top priority.

From the perspectives of society and the environment, 3D printing has provided businesses with a more sustainable mode of production. People benefit from 3D printing in more areas because of distributed production; it also improves people's health and well-being because of personalized care; and it makes better working conditions possible lock cylinder machining. At the same time, 3D printing has the potential to reduce waste in the manufacturing process through mass customization and improved logistics. Therefore, many people believe that 3D printing will be a positive force in assisting businesses to operate more sustainably in the future. But that isn't enough.

3D printing has the potential to and must do more to reduce its negative impact on society and the environment in innovative ways. I'm glad to see more and more industry leaders recognize this and develop initiatives to reduce energy consumption, increase the use of recycled powders, and create workplaces that are fit for the future, said Fred vancraen, founder and CEO of Vancraen & Company. In the future, the question we will be asking is not whether 3D printing is a more environmentally friendly manufacturing technology, but rather whether it is a more environmentally friendly manufacturing technology. The question is: what can we do to make 3D printing more environmentally friendly?
Uncertainty creates opportunities.

In the face of an uncertain economic environment, manufacturing enterprises, particularly those in industries that are more sensitive to fluctuations in demand, will place a greater emphasis on reducing costs and avoiding risks. During the economic crisis of the late 2000s, the 3D printing industry was particularly hard hit cnc turning services, owing to the fact that it was primarily used as a prototype manufacturing technology at the time. The demand for prototype manufacturing decreases as a result of the reduction in R& D expenditure.

Today's situation is quite different. Jurgen laudus, vice president and general manager of manufacturing, stated that 3D printing is no longer just for prototyping; it has evolved into a complementary technology for the production of finished goods. At the same time, 3D printing technology has gradually matured and gained an increasing amount of public trust.3D printing is increasingly being used by businesses to gain competitive advantages in design and manufacturing. As a result, 3D printing no longer represents costs and risks, but rather opportunities in uncertain economic times.

3D printing is now being used in mass production, as demonstrated by the case of the Hoya visual simulator. In comparison to traditional manufacturing technology, 3D printing does not rely on the scale effect and requires only a small amount of capital to get started. Production on demand reduces the need for inventory, while localized production can mitigate the impact of tariff fluctuations. As we face an uncertain economic environment, we anticipate that more manufacturing companies will turn to 3D printing as a cost-saving and risk-avoidance tool.

3. It lays the groundwork for the future application of artificial intelligence in additive manufacturing.

Data is a source of strength. As 3D printing becomes more widely used, and as more sensors are used to better monitor the 3D printing process, we are collecting more data than ever before. However, simply being able to collect data is not sufficient - we require data in order to make decisions. Artificial intelligence is an extremely powerful tool that can be used to process large amounts of data and obtain in-depth insights to aid in decision-making. For this, however, we will need not only a large amount of data, but also a thorough understanding of the 3D printing process.

There are now instances of artificial intelligence being used to promote 3D printing. However, according to Stefaan Motte, vice president and general manager of software, "Before additive manufacturing can truly apply artificial intelligence, we must first gain a better understanding of the many parameters and algorithms that define the 3D printing process."This necessitates the continuation of our investments in research, innovation, and cross-industry cooperation. Only by thoroughly understanding the 3D printing process and devising methods for making it faster, more stable, and more predictable from data will we be able to unleash the full potential of artificial intelligence in additive manufacturing.

4. A new climate of innovation has emerged.

In recent years, 3D printing has made significant strides in a variety of areas, including faster printers, more new materials, and more post-processing options. Now, we can see how all of these advancements are coming together to create an exciting atmosphere of innovation.

This is encouraging news for the 3D printing industry. According to Kristel van den Bergh, innovation director, these advancements not only allow us to improve existing applications by improving production processes, but they also stimulate the development of new applications that could not have been imagined or realized in the past.

A good example is the new TPU material, which allows for mass customization. Although we were able to print on TPU in the past few years, the printing process was extremely unstable, making it difficult to scale. Now, the HP MJF printer, BASF's new TPU material, and materialise's expertise in process and design can be perfectly combined to create new applications such as shoes, sports equipment, and safety equipment, and put them into large-scale production.

Advances in 3D printers, software, and materials are opening up a world of possibilities. Consumers may not have been aware of or cared about the manufacturing process that goes into the creation of the products they buy in previous years. Their expectations for performance and beauty are rising, and they are becoming more involved in the customization process.3D printing is the most effective method for accomplishing all of this. People will soon be able to take advantage of products that have never before been imagined.

5. Investment automation and post-processing

As businesses scale up their use of 3d printing, they will become increasingly reliant on automation. The post-processing, on the other hand, has a limit on the potential for expansion, especially when the post-processing is primarily manual. Simply increasing the number of people to expand the scale will increase the cost and uncertainty, and will not ensure the reliability of the system. If we want to increase the scale of production, the only way to do so is through automatic post-processing. This is particularly true in the case of mass customization. Different customers may require different colors for their customized shoes, making the process more complicated. Furthermore, the total output of mass customization is still at a very low level.

6. 3D printing in the year 2021

If you had to sum up the year 2021 in one word, it would be sustainability. The emphasis on sustainability is not solely on environmental and social impacts. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future economic situation, 3D printing offers businesses the opportunity to achieve financial sustainability through the production of terminal products, the development of new applications, the application of automatic post-processing, artificial intelligence, and other technologies. These trends will continue to shape our industry until 2021.