Additive Manufacturing Predictions for 2016

When new technology arrives on the scene, people often marvel at the expanded capabilities. Beyond the initial amazement however, the actual application of the new technologies are often slower to take off. That’s what has happened with additive manufacturing. As additive manufacturing technology continues to advance and become more mainstream, here’s how it is expected to change the industry in 2016:

Standardization:

Traditional manufacturing processes are here to stay, but that isn’t to say additive manufacturing won’t be seen in more shops. Additive manufacturing could bring about standardization of the industry, so that it is only used for creating products that aren’t attainable using existing methods. Standardization, which some organizations are looking at, could help streamline processes for manufacturers using additive manufacturing.

Skills Shortage:

With more new technology coming into play, the skills gap and demand for workers will only increase. This means there needs to be even more focus on training and recruiting workers for the field, not only in traditional machining methods, but additive processes as well.

Publicity:

When additive manufacturing appears in the news, often it’s talking about 3D cars, houses and other large, luxury items. However, these are far-reaching possibilities that give the public a twisted perception of this process.

Innovation:

Technology drives innovation, so there’s sure to be new and improved projects being made with additive manufacturing. This could help to transform the industry in ways previously thought impossible.

When looking at primarily metal printing, here’s what is expected to happen:

Metal Additive Manufacturing Focus:

There’s a lot of growth in this area, which is anticipated to become a huge focus of 3D printing in 2016. It’s expected to continue rapidly growing in 2016, with many businesses not previously involved now jumping in.

Automotive Industry:

It’s believed that in 2016, major carmakers will invest in direct metal printing. While indirect metal printing could grow within the automotive industry, large amounts of metal automobile components aren’t likely to be printed this year.

Small Footprint 3D Printing Systems:

For the last two years there was increased revenue growth from large-format metal systems sales. However, in 2016, smaller footprint systems could be shifted into the spotlight. Not only being used for research application but also for small-scale manufacturing opportunities.

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