3D printing specialist Essentium has issued a new report that suggests that the use of large-scale additive manufacturing (AM) is on the up.

According to an independent global survey commissioned by the company, the use of large-scale AM has more than doubled in the past year for 70% of manufacturing companies, from 7% in 2019 to 14% in 2020.

The survey also found 57% of manufacturers increased 3D printing for production parts to keep their supply chains flowing during the crisis, while 24% of respondents have ‘gone all-in’ in 3D printing investment plans, 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.

Some 90% of manufacturers agreed that ‘the manufacturing industry could save billions of dollars in production costs once 3D printing technology matures’, while 84% of respondents thought that companies investing in AM would have a clear competitive advantage in the next five years and 87% believed 3D printing will increasingly drive local manufacturing. However, to achieve these benefits, materials innovations will be critical to overcome obstacles, including the high cost of 3D printing materials (37%) and unreliable materials (24%).

‘The results of this survey show we’re at the beginning of radical change,’ said Blake Teipel, CEO and co-founder of Essentium. ‘Additive is ready for prime time, and manufacturers are already moving into actual manufacturing to save manufacturing costs while building stronger supply chains that can withstand the worst type of unforeseen events – such as the pandemic.’

This story uses material from Essentium, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.