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The global 3D printing market is growing steep with an annual CAGR of 20%+ and is expected to reach approximately USD 31 billion in 2023 (vs. approx. USD 9 billion in Europe). Experts indicate that AM will catch up to conventional manufacturing technologies such as CNC and sheet metal production in the coming years. The reasons for this growth? The many benefits that additive manufacturing provides.
Source: Marketsandmarkets engineering
3D Printing's Benefits Along the Value Chain
Design and Engineering
Fewer piece parts: Design freedom enables the integration of several conventionally produced
Higher customization: Efficient small batch production makes mass-customized applications possible
Lighter parts: Layer-wise production enables the manufacturing of bionic lightweight parts
Quicker time to market: Tool-less production increases the speed of prototyping design cycles
Faster manufacturing process: Short setup time in production, fewer production steps, more flexibility with better load balance, and less part-specific equipment increase the speed of production
Higher material productivity: The process of layer-wise production reduces the waste of material for complex geometries compared
More local production: Lack of part-specific tooling and fewer manual production steps enable digital inventories with distributed on-demand production networks
Increased supply chain resilience: Fewer piece parts and manufacturing steps decrease the need for complex and vulnerable supply chains
Additional customization potential in the supply chain: Mass customized parts increase customer satisfaction and offer new revenue streams within a given supply chain
3D Printing's Three Main Application Areas
1. Prototyping and Modeling
Increasing the speed of time to market for new innovations.
Design hackathons (e.g., rapid prototyping with overnight prints and daily design iterations)
Testing of new design features (e.g. piece part integration, topology optimized parts)
Solving of ad-hoc manufacturing issues (e.g. geometry)
Want to learn more about rapid prototyping? Check out this guide for a deep dive.
Decreasing setup cost for faster small volume production tools
Moulds (e.g. allowing cooling channels below the surface, cost-efficient for small batches)
Assembly line tooling (e.g. customized gripper solutions, clamps, jigs)
3. Spare Parts and Direction Manufacturing
Improving the performance and sourcing of end-use parts
High performance parts (e.g. topology optimized brackets in aerospace)
Parts with customized surface texturing and patterning (e.g. functional grips of robots)
Spare parts on demand (e.g. slow moving parts, urgent demands, production in remote areas)
Key 3D Printing Use Cases
Use Case #1: Applying additive manufacturing to prototyping and modeling for better products and faster design cycles
The challenges in adopting additive manufacturing are varied. First, there's a lack of design knowledge to ensure the functionality and manufacturability of prototypes. Next, there's the cycle time. Fast iteration cycles are required to decrease the time to market from the first designs to the final products. Finally, selecting the right material and technology to fulfill requirements.
How MakerVerse Helps
Quick design feedback: Receive free MakerVerse expert consultation and digital platform support to determine the feasibility of product design
Fast order allocation: Realize rapid manufacturing with short lead times through MakerVerse's network of 700+ printers across Europe
Broad material offering: Navigate through MakerVerse's comprehensive portfolio of 25+ materials and technologies with dedicated decision trees
Use Case #2: Use additive manufacturing to improve design and lead time of tooling parts
All companies want to increase speed. However, obstacles make this difficult. The big challenge is capital expenditures, as tools have high setup costs per unit due to small batch production on different machines. Sourcing the rights parts is risky, as tools require many parts that increase supply chain complexity and the risk of failure.
How MakerVerse Helps
Efficient 3D printing as a service: Save setup costs by using MakerVerse's network of 700+ printers across Europe
Expert consolation/ review: Integrate piece parts in the design with free specialist consultation and the digital platform, helping to determine design feasibility
Strict quality assurance: Quality oversight from Zeiss to ensure functionality and operational safety of tools
Use Case #3: Implement additive manufacturing to rapidly produce critical spare parts and reduce inventory
Quickly sourcing spare parts while reducing inventory helps improve efficiency. The challenge is that urgent spare parts require machine capacity close to the point of use, which might not always be available. Furthermore, high service level objectives lead to extensive inventories with low turnover. Finally, rare out-of-production parts require high set-up costs for tooling and supply chain setup.
How MakerVerse Helps
Fast order allocation: Realize fast lead times through MakerVerse’s network of 700+ printers across Europe
Reliable supply chain: Improve part availability by storing parts digitally on MakerVerse and printing them on-demand with our certified supplier network
Broad material offering: Find efficient solutions for out-of-production parts enabled by MakerVerse’s comprehensive portfolio of 25+ materials and technologies
Get started with 3D printing on the MakerVerse platform.