Hubs Report 2023: What Do We Know About the State of AM Over the Past Year?
We all know that 3D printing just keeps growing. Now we have seen it once again in the Hubs Report 2023, which took a close look at the additive manufacturing market over the past year. The report includes exciting metrics and information around the latest trends in 3D printing, future forecasts, evaluation of current applications, to inspection of market growth and the role of sustainability in additive manufacturing. We took a closer look at the key points for this year.
According to the report, the average market size, which includes all sales of systems, software, materials, and services related to 3D printing, is $17 billion with a growth rate of 13%, and is projected to grow as much as 17% in 2023. Showing the continued health of the industry. Indeed, a survey conducted in February 2023 with over 1,000 respondents confirms this growth. 71% of respondents said they produced significantly more parts with 3D printing in 2022 than in the previous year. Only 8% indicated that their production numbers of 3D printed parts had decreased since 2021.
As far as the 3D printing applications of 2023 are concerned, prototyping re-emerged as the most popular application of 3D printing technologies with around 66% of participant votes. This is followed by toolmaking, small batch production, customer-specific mass production and series production. Not surprisingly, the most favored printing technology is the FDM/FFF process with 56% of the participants’ votes. Followed by SLA (Stereolithography), SLS (Selective Laser Sintering), MJF (MultiJet Fusion) and SLM (Selective Laser Melting), with the methods representing the top five most popular printing methods of 2023.
Additionally, the report found that 3D printing is expected to make a major breakthrough in the following industries – in first place is the food industry. The sector offers particularly great potential for the future, especially with the production of cultured meat and the ability to customize nutrients. This is followed by the fashion industry, especially with numerous examples of 3D-printed footwear, motorsports, healthcare and, finally, aerospace.
The Future of 3D Printing: AI and 4D Printing
Of course, it’s important not just to look at the trends but also where we see that AM is going in coming years. According to Hubs, the future of additive manufacturing is characterized by artificial intelligence. With the help of AI, innovative possibilities are offered that are intended to push the previous boundaries of additive manufacturing. In particular, AI is expected to improve 3D print monitoring, quality control, generative design and print optimization. In medicine, AI is expected to provide accelerated production of customized medical prostheses and implants in the future. “The potential for innovation is limitless when 3D printing and AI converge” the report states.
Hubs also anticipates a strong advance in 4D printing. Researchers are already developing so-called 4D hydrogels with autonomous drug release. The hydrogels are designed to detect the body’s vital signs and release the required drug when needed. In the future, 4D printing will also be used to produce implants that adapt to the human body over time. Finally, the report highlights the sustainability benefits of additive advantages. For example, 3D printing contributes significantly to less waste, more local production and recycling, among other benefits. For more information, you can download the full report HERE.
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