The Future of Additive Manufacturing - What Will Be the Next Big Thing in 2020?
Updated: Mar 27
The year 2020 has arrived and so is the beginning of a new decade. Additive manufacturing has changed and evolved tremendously over the last few years. and today it keeps scaling up toward industrialization and end-to-end production lines, and becomes an integral part of the supply chain.
We gathered some of our most appreciated industry experts and asked them for their points of view on the biggest trends to expect for industrial 3D printing in 2020.
Michael Keogh, President & SVP, Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.
"Stanley is excited by the rapid pace of innovation in digital manufacturing, including additive, subtractive, and all things 3D. The friction involved with going from an idea to a real-world product is rapidly disappearing with the democratization of 3D capture, design, and printing. Additive manufacturing is now past the hype phase and is quickly maturing into a production line technology. We're closely tracking the metal binder jetting space in particular where we expect to see increased competition driving technological advances in terms of throughput and also material portfolios."
Sylvia Monsheimer, Head of New 3D Technologies, Evonik Industries
"On the one hand, I expect the overall situation in the industry to become more difficult than in previous years which will lead the market growth to slow down. On the other hand, difficult situations open up new opportunities for a disruptive change. That means the willingness to switch from conventional production methods to AM can increase – and the resources might be available to make it possible as well. I am quite sure that later this year we will see some first new and exciting series applications – I mean full production halls with running AM machines on that point. I personally expect medical and lifestyle to be the first markets for such developments. With respect to the materials side, I see interesting new materials on the horizon which might disclose new application fields for series production."
Gil Lavi, Founder & CEO, 3D Alliances
"I see more and more large manufacturers trying to find the right solutions that will help them integrate 3D printing in their manufacturing processes. To achieve that they will need to tailor down an end-to-end digital workflow that will include the following three components: 3D software - decision support, topology optimization, workflow management and workflow acceleration solutions. Industrial 3D Printers, Metal/Plastic - with a focus on the right materials, speed, accuracy and repeatability. Automated Post-processing systems - for support removal, surface finish and dying. There for, the trend I see is companies, mostly 3D startups, acting in these three solution segment to offer solution for streamlining digital production."
Vishal Singh, CTO & Co-Founder, Link3D
"At Link3D, we predict 'Quality Management Systems' designed for additive manufacturing, will become a critical component for end-to-end tractability. In capturing this Digital Twin so efficiently, organizations will have the ability to produce at more effective rates and embrace advanced applications. 2020 will also be tremendous for additive manufacturing as the industry moves toward ‘Data Standardization’ of hardware and software ecosystems. By applying modern technologies in 2020 to digital manufacturing, this will set the tone for the next decade to come."
David Zimny, Business Development Representative Germany, 3DHubs
"After Formnext has already proven its professionalism and significance with many major players, I believe that the focus will slowly move from general feasibility towards material science and quality assurance/standardization."
Ronen Lebi, VP of Corporate Development, Stratasys
"2020 in Industrial Additive Manufacturing will be all about scaling up the industry to fit into production environments. With breakthroughs in process control and intelligence (AI, Machine learning, Closed loop control, Simulation, MES and many more), AM will take a(nother) huge leap in its transition from Prototyping to Production."
Xavier Llobera, Sales Enablement & Go-To-Market for Manufacturing WW Manager, HP
"Additive Manufacturing has marked, since few years ago, a turning point towards industrialization, moving from prototyping-only technologies to others (such as MJF) that proved final part volume production at a competitive cost and competitive quality, Compared with traditional manufacturing technologies like injection molding. However, a milestone that will represent another key step forward is automatization, which will enable end-to-end manufacturing lines, working seamlessly with little human intervention, In 2020 automatization will become a battlefield where multiple players will compete, progressively demonstrating that this automated, robust, manufacturing model is possible in additive manufacturing. From sending the job, to printing, cleaning and post-processing, all these required steps will one day be fully automated, hence multiplying productivity, and reducing cost."
Siddharthan (Sid) Selvasekar,
“To truly take advantage of additive manufacturing’s unique opportunities, sophisticated software tools are key design enablers. As additive manufacturing becomes increasingly digitized, we see tool-sets such as generative design and build automation maturing and catching up with their relevant additive manufacturing modalities through 2020.”
"It is encouraging to see that more connectivity is being built into advanced additive manufacturing machines, making them pivotal for industry 4.0 enabled factories."
Robert Meshel, Director, Additive Manufacturing Network, Siemens Digital Industries Software
"More Industrial machinery giants will be entering the market, so we should expect the consolidation process that we experienced over the past 2 years to proceed.
Variety of materials will continue to grow, and specifically metal. Metal production will also become more affordable with the increase number of technologies and machines in this domain."
Omer Blaier, Co-Founder & CEO, CASTOR
"We, at CASTOR, see 2020 as a very interesting point of time for additive manufacturing. On the one hand, we see the price per part going down. due to the rising competition, and on the other hand, more and more applications are using 3D printing for end use parts. The large 3D printing OEM companies will remain in the chase towards end use plastic and end use metal during 2020. We see digital transformation towards software taking a major role in helping companies to reach end use metal and plastic first and have their applications ready for manufacturing."
(Cover photo credit: F. Lancelot / master films, Airbus 2017)
Summary: what will be the future of additive manufacturing?
According to the experts that were interviewed in this article, the future of additive manufacturing looks promising.
One of the key benefits of 3D printing is the ability to customize products, which is especially valuable in industries such as medical and aerospace.
The technology is also expected to accelerate product development by allowing companies to quickly iterate and test new designs.
Another advantage of additive manufacturing is on-demand production, which can help reduce inventory costs and waste.
However, the experts caution that businesses will need to develop new business models to fully take advantage of these benefits.
In addition, advancements in deposition technology and materials are needed to expand the range of products that can be produced with 3D printing.
Overall, the experts agree that additive manufacturing will continue to play an increasingly important role in a wide range of industries in the coming years.