While the additive manufacturing (AM) industry has been growing healthily over the last few years, most interested parties have agreed that, for the technology to take the next leap, it needs to be able to carry out large-scale 3D printing. Late last year, AM company Essentium Inc, based in Texas, released independent global research findings that suggested that the use of large-scale AM had more than doubled in 2020 for 70% of manufacturing companies.

The number of companies that shifted to using AM for full-scale production runs of hundreds of thousands of parts also doubled from 7% in 2019 to 14% in 2020, the company said.

The survey, which reported on answers from 169 manufacturing company managers, also found that 57% of manufacturers increased 3D printing for production parts to keep their supply chains flowing during the Covid-19 crisis (Figure 1). While some 24% of respondents have ‘gone all-in’ with regards to 3D printing investment, 25% of manufacturers are ramping up to meet supply chain needs and 30% of respondents are evaluating industrial-scale 3D printing to fill supply chain gaps, Essentium said.

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