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Additive Manufacturing Playing Significant Role in Digital Transformation, On‐Demand Production and More Sustainable Workflows

Independent study finds that additive manufacturing can speed up digitalization in current manufacturing workflows, with 96% of respondents saying it helps get products to market faster

With 3D printing making an impact on the digitalization of manufacturing and the disruption of industries, a new study by HP in partnership with 3dbpm Research found that additive manufacturing (AM) is playing a significant role in enabling this transition. According to the study, which analyzed key digital manufacturing trends among leading industrial parts manufacturers in Europe, 96% of respondents agreed that additive manufacturing helps them to get products to market faster, with 100% of respondents recognizing the importance of increasingly digitizing their production workflows with the ability to produce parts on demand as the biggest driver of this behavior.

In addition, it was discovered that 63% of European parts manufacturers who took part in the survey will invest from €100,000 to over a million in digitalization over the next 12 months, as the power of this agile ecosystem and technological capabilities are proving themselves in the most demanding of circumstances.

The HP AM Trends in EMEA Report dissects the motivations and investment strategies of manufacturers across five key European markets: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux and the United Kingdom. Led by 3dpbm, a sample of industrial parts manufacturers of varying sizes and across a broad range of specializations were independently surveyed. The study examines how firms that have already implemented digital and AM manufacturing processes for the production of industrial parts, perceive the benefits of pursuing such a strategy, and to what extent they expect the macrotrend to continue to accelerate in the short and medium-term.

“A digital transformation of manufacturing is underway,” said Guayente Sanmartin, Global Head & General Manager, HP 3D Printing Multi Jet Fusion Business. "The leading companies of the future will be those that harness the power of software, data, AI, and digital manufacturing to reinvent and personalize customer products and experiences. Great progress has been made over the last few years, with our HP Multi Jet Fusion technology delivering more than 60 million 3D printed parts since its inception. The need for this technology has increased exponentially over the last 15 months.”

Sustainable impact

The report indicated that sustainability has an influence on the decision to digitalize manufacturing workflows, with 61% of respondents agreeing that it is a relevant factor driver behind digitalization. In addition, 91% noted that the ability to produce parts on demand was an important benefit, with a further 79% of those surveyed believing that additive manufacturing helps them deal with production challenges - such as the ability to adapt to fluctuating demand.

“The advanced capabilities of 3D printing are creating entirely new opportunities for disruption across industries and with a far more environmentally sustainable approach, which is a significant driver for manufacturers today,” added Sanmartin. “3D printing and its intrinsically flexible nature empowers a more circular economy.”

Digital transformation

The report reveals that additive manufacturing operates as a key opportunity in the digitalization of industrial manufacturing processes, with digitalization considered a necessity for the near entirety of manufacturing processes by a large majority of survey respondents (96%).

The use of additive manufacturing in industrial parts manufacturing was reported as key to producing more cost-effective components, as well as making better products at faster speeds. UK and German industrial parts manufacturers interviewed are planning the most significant investments in digitalization and additive manufacturing, with 50% of British and 40% of German respondents saying they intend to spend more than €1 million over the next five years.

Other findings revealed that 83% of survey respondents use additive manufacturing for the actual production of components and tools to make commercial products, with half of them (52%) already making complete finished products which is the final frontier of addictive manufacturing.

“3D printing is no longer exclusive to tools and small volumes of parts,” said Stijn Paridaens, CEO of Digital Manufacturing service bureau ZiggZagg. “It is having a much bigger impact for our customers and it is why we are investing in 3D as the primary manufacturing offering for our customers. We believe HP Multi Jet Fusion Technology is the leading industrial technology to enable us to go from small series productions to medium and, in some cases, even large production of up to 200,000 final parts.”

This report builds on the findings of HP’s Digital Manufacturing Trend Report published in October 2020, providing a more extensive analysis of key drivers, investment strategies and country specific trends within Europe.

Highlights of HP’s AM Trends in EMEA Report include:

European industrial parts manufacturers agree on urgent need for increased digitalization

• 100% of respondents recognize the importance of increasingly digitalizing their production workflows.

• 70% of respondents said that the primary driver for digitalizing manufacturing workflows is the ability to produce parts on demand.

• 63% of respondents expect to spend more than €100,000 on digitalization of their manufacturing workflows over the next 12-month period.

• 61% of respondents stated that sustainability is relevant or very relevant to increasingly digitalize their manufacturing workflows.

Industrial tooling disruption underway with additive manufacturing

• Over 95% of respondents indicated that additive manufacturing is a relevant technology for digitalization in their current manufacturing workflows.

• 91% of respondents said that they use additive manufacturing to make industrial tools (including jigs, fixtures, and molds). These tools are used to produce more parts via non-additive processes. Other relevant types of parts include EOAT and automation system components.

• 52% of respondents use additive manufacturing for making complete finished products

Additive manufacturing improves part functionality and production flexibility

• 96% of respondents say that additive manufacturing helps them get a product to market faster.

• 91% of respondents indicated that the ability to produce parts on demand is a key benefit of 3D printing.

• 79% of respondents said that additive manufacturing helped them deal with production challenges related to COVID-19.

European industrial parts manufacturers are confident on the future growth of additive manufacturing

• Over 95% of respondents expect the use of additive manufacturing to continue to grow.

• 83% of respondents are likely to invest in expanding their digital manufacturing capabilities in the next 12 months. For 65% of them, this investment will include additive manufacturing.

• 92% of respondents are likely to invest in expanding their digital manufacturing capabilities in the next five years. For 77% of them, this investment will include additive manufacturing.
www.hp.com

 

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