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Market Trend| 8 Key 3D Printing Industry Trends in 2020

HP forecasted 8 key 3D printing and digital manufacturing trends that will happen in 2020. This forecast examines the driving impact of additive manufacturing on Industry 4.0, including the demands for more sustainable production, automatic manufacturing breakthrough, and the rise of data and software to support digital manufacturing.

1. Automatic manufacturing assembly will flourish in factories.
The automatic manufacturing assembly is coming with the booming of seamlessly integrated multi-part assembly, and the combination of 3D printed metal and plastic parts. Due to factors such as processing temperature, there is currently no super printer that can do all the work, such as printing metal and plastic parts at the same time. However, with the increase in automation, there is the possibility of a more automated assembly method in the industry-parts can be produced in both metal and plastic materials. For example, metal parts can be 3D printed directly into plastic parts, parts that are resistant to wear and collect electrical energy, and even conductors or motors made into plastic parts may benefit the automotive industry.

2. Encode 3D printed surface details into 3D digital files.
It may be possible to encode and convert digital information into the surface texture of a 3D printed model by using more advanced 3D printing technology. In this way, both humans and machines can identify a part based on the surface material. For example, the 3D printed parts can be identified by specific means if there are hundreds of hidden identification numbers scattered on the surface. The ability to track part printing and data processing becomes more and more important, and monitoring methods for additive manufacturing will become a hot spot in the future.

3. Sustainable production will continue to be a priority for companies.
With the close integration of industrial production and manufacturing, the impact on the environment may be huge, because nearly one-third of carbon emissions are related to the production and distribution of commodities. 3D printing will significantly reduce waste, inventory and carbon dioxide emissions from manufacturing. Engineers and designers will rethink design throughout the product's life cycle to reduce material consumption and waste by combining parts and using complex shapes of lightweight parts. It will further reduce the weight and fuel efficiency of cars and aircraft, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. It will also help reduce the transportation of goods as more and more manufacturers transfer digital files to local production.

4. Growing demand for 3D printing talent and education.
Higher education is at a crossroads and faces the challenge of competitive enrollment, changing demographics, and graduate employment. One trend is a radical change in thinking in preparation for Industry 4.0.
Universities and training programs will increasingly establish a new set of thought processes that will free students from old ideas and enable them to take advantage of future technologies such as 3D printing and digital manufacturing. As educators take advantage of new software design tools and adopt innovative courses such as 3D printing and build new degrees in additive manufacturing, students will be better able to use 3D printing technology to capture the data the 3D industry will create millions of job opportunities in the next 10 years.

5. Mass customization will accelerate the increase of footwear, eyewear and dentistry.
With the rapid adoption of 3D printing technology in footwear, eyewear and orthodontic applications, health consumption will drive the growth of digital manufacturing. Footwear has a huge application space, which is very beneficial for the 3D printing industry. Some surveys believe that 3D printing of footwear will increase to a market size of $ 6.3 billion in the next 10 years. The customization function of 3D printing will create a lot of value, from which the orthodontics and glasses industry will also benefit.

6. 3D printing will promote the electrification of vehicles.
With the popularity of electric vehicles, automakers will continue to tap the potential of metal and plastic 3D printing to accelerate the design and development of new vehicles. For example, VW promises to produce more than 22 million electric vehicles worldwide by 2028. The automotive industry produces a large number of parts each year, coupled with the rapid prototyping and production capabilities of 3D printing, enabling automakers to produce automotive parts that could not previously be produced, thereby pushing the level of electric vehicles and even autonomous vehicles to new heights.

7. 3D printing will bring new efficiencies to the supply chain.
Delivering things digitally and producing them locally is not always the best choice. Anyhow, manufacturers must analyze wherein the supply chain is most effective for production-whether it is near the end user or near the source of the material. An interesting example is the 2D world from the packaging world. Corrugated boxes provide a new growth market for digital printing, with many similarities to 3D printing of final parts.

8. Software will extend the boundaries of digital manufacturing.
In 2020, the gap between the capabilities of 3D printing and digital manufacturing hardware and the software ecosystem will further narrow. Advances in software and data management will drive improvements in system management and part quality, leading to better results. Companies in the industry are creating new performance to build a flexible ecosystem for customers and partners, including dedicated, personalized products.

In addition, manufacturers will be able to use personalized biometric data for mass customization and unlock new value, such as part traceability through the supply chain, virtual inventory and spare parts management, and distributed manufacturing closer to the end customer.