ASME and Carbon Survey Finds Large Gains for 3D Printing in Manufacturing

Report shows that nearly all respondents now use a 3D printing process for manufacturing.

Report shows that nearly all respondents now use a 3D printing process for manufacturing.

Carbon, a 3D printing technology company, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) report the findings from a survey that found that the 3D printing process has become an integral technology in the development of plastic parts and products for production use.

The ASME survey of practicing engineers involved in the design or development of plastic parts found that 88% of respondents now use 3D printing/additive manufacturing in some way. The technology, previously best known for its use in creating prototypes, is being used for the production of finished parts. A total of 40% of respondents said they now use additive manufacturing to produce products.

The report, “Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing Adoption from Prototype to Production,” includes findings that the technology has secured footholds broadly across industries and that its growing adoption is based on three categories of attributes: its speed, flexibility in timing and design and cost-efficiency.  

“Additive manufacturing is being broadly implemented in many varied industries, and is having an incredible impact on the supply chain and manufacturing across the world,” says Phil DeSimone, co-founder and chief product & business development officer at Carbon. “We have seen OEMs embrace 3D printing as a strategic advantage to develop better products and bring them to market in less time. Advances in materials, software and hardware are making it possible for these companies to design products, validate market fit and move to production faster and with better results.” 

Other key findings from the report include:

  • For the development of polymer products, 3D printing is used more often than either injection molding or milling. 
  • 3D printing is still the most often used process for prototyping. 
  • Engineers within the life sciences and industrial machinery sectors reported the highest levels of familiarity with 3D printing. 
  • Use of and familiarity with 3D printing is heavily influenced by age and company size—the younger the engineer and the larger the company, the greater the embrace of 3D.

“Additive manufacturing, especially in the polymer space, has grown by an incredible amount over the past couple of years,” says Lauralyn McDaniel, head of industry strategy and engagement with Metrix, an ASME Company. “Seeing the strong use of 3D printing in polymer production is evidence that additive manufacturing is moving into the mainstream, especially in areas like athletic equipment where the unique lattice design capabilities of 3D printing have been used to increase performance and safety, as well as in healthcare and aerospace, which have been leaders in production use of additive manufacturing.”                                                                            

For the full report, which was commissioned by Carbon, and a deeper look into the state of additive manufacturing and 3D printing click here.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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