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Shift to Hybrid Additive Manufacturing Driving Competitive Advantage

Essentium, a leading innovator of industrial additive manufacturing (AM) solutions, recently announced the first in a series of findings from independent global research on the current and future use of industrial 3D printing. The fifth annual study reveals that the use of large-scale AM has more than doubled in the past year for 81 percent of manufacturing companies. The majority, 88%, of manufacturers are using hybrid production, integrating both 3D printed parts and traditionally manufactured parts in the same products.

Most manufacturing companies (96%) said that 3D printing is dramatically more reliable than five years ago and has enabled them to maintain or gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace (57%). The survey results show that AM use has evolved from simple prototyping to:

➤ Manufacturing aids and tooling (74%)

➤ Complex and integrated prototyping (52%)

➤ Full production runs (44%)

The survey found that the most important drivers for a company’s adoption of AM were its ability to:

➤ Speed time to market (43%)

➤ Improve part performance (37%)

➤ Lower production costs (27%)

➤ Overcome supply chain issues (26%)

Fundamental changes have occurred in the past five years that have encouraged the adoption of 3D printing in hybrid manufacturing. Manufacturers gained expertise in 3D printing technology and processes (43%), 3D printing technology is much more reliable (37%), and company cultures have become more open to change and innovation (32%).

Said Blake Teipel, Ph.D., CEO of Essentium: “When it comes to additive manufacturing, the narrative has often focused on pitching additive against traditional manufacturing. This survey supports our vision of incorporating AM into the factory floor, enabling manufacturers of all sizes to compete in the global marketplace with next-gen technology. Hybrid represents the future of manufacturing, and to maintain competitive advantage, manufacturers need to jump in now to get ahead.”

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