An EY survey shows that vastly more companies are using the technology — and that manufacturing will never be the same again.
Three years ago, additive manufacturing (AM) was on the radar of businesses we surveyed, but just 24% had tried the technology. Now, that percentage has surged to 65%, and any early skepticism that AM’s transformative potential was just hype have been laid to rest, with 18% of companies already using it to make end-use products.
The crucial “early majority” — whose buy-in is essential to the success of any new technology — has been won over. This moment in the evolution of AM (also known as 3D printing or 3DP) is comparable to the point, a century ago, when industry moved from steam power to electricity. Then, those that hesitated in the transition were swept away. Will businesses that resist AM face the same fate — while those that embrace the technology, as users or vendors, become the new industry leaders?
We explore this question, and many others, in our global EY report, 3D printing: hype or game changer? (pdf) , to provide a full and informed viewpoint about today’s AM market. In providing an up-to-date view of the industry and informed insights into its development, this report draws on continuous EY research and the perspectives of 900 executives from 13 countries and 9 industries.
And the technology has not yet reached its zenith. Dozens of sub-technologies have emerged, and in such a fragmented marketplace, it can be challenging to get a clear picture — to gauge, for example, how much manufacturing companies know about the technology, what applications are being used, what challenges companies are experiencing with AM, and how the technology and market will evolve. Our report offers the full picture (pdf) , and we offer some highlights below.