The State Of 3D Printing, 2019
- Proof of concept and prototyping dominate 3D printing applications in 2019.
- 80% of enterprises say 3D printing is enabling them to innovate faster.
- 51% of enterprises are actively using 3D printing in production.
These and many other fascinating insights are from Sculpteo’s 5th edition of their popular study, The State of 3D Printing (29 pp., PDF, opt-in). The study’s methodology is based on interviews with 1,300 respondents coming from Europe (64%), United States (16.6 %) and Asia (20.2%), which is the fastest growing region internationally today as measured by this survey over five years. Eight industries are included in the research design including Industrial Goods (13.6%), High Tech (10.6%), Services (9.9%), Consumer Goods (8.6%), Health & Medical (6.2%), Automotive (5.7%), Aerospace & Defense (5.5%), and Education (4.9%). For additional details on the methodology, please see pages 6 and 7 of the study. Key takeaways from the survey include the following:
- Proof of concepts and prototyping dominate 3D printing applications in 2019. Manufacturers are increasing their reliance on 3D printing as part of their broader manufacturing strategies, with production use up to 51% of all respondents from 38.7% in 2018. The following compares 2019’s purpose of 3D prints versus the last five years of survey data. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- Accelerating product development continues to be enterprises’ top focus guiding their 3D printing strategies in 2019. Mass customization and support for configure-to-order and engineer-to-order product strategies also continue to be a high priority this year, continued the trend since 2015. Increasing production flexibility is the third area of focus that guides additive manufacturing strategies today. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- Nearly 50% of enterprises say that quality control is their top challenge of using their 3D printers. As enterprises increase their adoption of 3D printing to accelerate their additive manufacturing strategies, quality is becoming increasingly more important. Manufacturers most define their success by the perceived level of quality products they deliver to their customers, which is increasing quality control as a needed benefit of 3D printing. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- Adopting a design-to-manufacturing strategy accelerates new product development and innovation, which is why CAD design leads all other activities today. When responses were asked which areas related to 3D printing and additive manufacturing, they spend the majority of their time, nearly 50% said CAD design. Building prototypes, research, and testing prototypes are also areas those enterprises adopting additive manufacturing are investing in today. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- Additive manufacturing adoption is growing across shop floors globally, evidenced by more than 70% of enterprises finding new applications for 3D printing in 2019 and 60% using CAD, simulation, and reverse engineering internally. The leading indicators of additive manufacturing becoming more pervasively adopted across global shop floors are shown in the following graphic. New uses for 3D printing, experimenting with new materials, extensive CAD Design integration combined with simulation and reverse engineering provide further evidence of how engrained additive manufacturing is becoming in production processes daily. 3D printing is now most commonly used alongside CNC machining, another strong indicator of how essential additive manufacturing is becoming to the production process. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- 3D printings’ innate strengths at producing items with complex geometries at a quick pace or iteration are the leading two benefits of 3D printing in 2019. More than 40% of enterprises say that rapid iterations of prototypes and lead time reductions are the leading benefits followed by mass customization (support for configure-to-order & engineer-to-order product strategies) and cost savings. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- 80% of high tech manufacturing respondents are relying on 3D printing for prototyping, leading all industries in this category. 47% use 3D printing to accelerate product development. High tech manufacturers are above average in their experimenting with new 3D printing materials and technologies, looking for greater competitive strength in their industry. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- North American-based enterprises see the scale to support complex product concepts (complex geometries), speed (quick iterations), scale (mass customizations) and cost savings as the top benefits of 3D printing. Sculpteo’s survey found that North American enterprises are more optimistic about the potential for 3D printing becoming mainstream in a production environment. While budget and physical space are the two most significant barriers enterprises face in adopting 3D printing at scale, their optimistic outlook on the technology’s future is driving greater adoption to the shop floor. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.