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Who’s Ready for 3D Printing?

Written by: Steve Melito, Industry Blog Writer for FuzeHub

Image Credit: PwC and Manufacturing Institute
Image Credit: PwC and Manufacturing Institute

In a recent white paper entitled 3D printing and the new shape of industrial manufacturing, PwC and the Manufacturing Institute share the results of a survey of 100 manufacturers and offer predictions about the economic impact of 3D printing (3DP). Most of the survey’s respondents report that they plan to use 3DP, or are embracing additive manufacturing already.
Nearly 67% of the manufacturers surveyed are evaluating, implementing, or experimenting with 3DP, typically for prototyping instead of production. Almost 25% of the respondents say they plan to use 3D printing sometime in the future. The remaining companies, which include small contract manufacturers and large multinationals, don’t plan to adopt additive manufacturing at all.
Who are the companies that are pursuing 3D printing, and are there industrial applications beyond parts prototyping? Large multinationals such as GE and Ford capture headlines for their 3DP programs, but most manufacturing companies are significantly smaller. As the white paper notes, small manufacturers with fewer than 500 employees comprise 99% of the manufacturing companies in the United States.
For these small manufacturers, the good news is that moving from 3D printed prototypes to low-volume production isn’t a giant leap. The bad news (if it’s bad at all) is that 3DP may disrupt supply chains and staffing levels. Digital designs are less expensive to “ship” than heavy freight, of course, but 3D printers will require machine operators with different skill sets. Are small manufacturers ready for these big changes?
Read original story:  3D printing and the new shape of industrial manufacturing
 
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