The findings of the global survey on 3D printing technology trends were unveiled by Jabil.

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The findings of Jabil Inc.’s latest global survey on additive manufacturing have revealed the growing popularity of 3D printing technologies and additive materials in production environments. The survey, conducted every two years, aims to track the progress of additive manufacturing while identifying opportunities and challenges for decision makers.

According to the survey, 97% of participants are currently using 3D printing to produce functional or end-use parts. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of the respondents printed at least 10,000 parts in the past year, and over a third printed up to 100,000 parts. This indicates a steady increase in the adoption of 3D printing in production environments.

Despite the positive trend, the survey also highlighted ongoing challenges related to the cost and availability of additive manufacturing materials. 85% of participants expressed difficulties grappling with the affordability and accessibility of materials that meet specific application requirements. This suggests that the industry still needs to address these roadblocks to further promote the use of 3D printing technologies.

Luke Rodgers, Jabil’s senior director of R&D for additive manufacturing, emphasized the importance of overcoming these challenges. He stated that the survey results confirm the company’s experiences in helping customers leverage the speed and agility of 3D printing to transform manufacturing processes. Rodgers also highlighted the need for differentiated additive materials that offer improved physical properties to deliver greater functionality, sustainability, and economies of scale.

The survey involved 200 additive manufacturing stakeholders from around the world and was conducted by SIS International Research. It aimed to provide insights into the decisions made by industry professionals regarding 3D printing and additive manufacturing materials, considering existing opportunities, challenges, and industry developments.

Key findings from the survey include the top three use cases for 3D printing: prototyping, research and development, and production parts. It was also noted that the use of 3D printing for bridge production (moving from prototyping to initial production) saw significant growth from 23% in 2017 to 59% in 2023.

Despite the challenges, the survey participants anticipate a rise in the use of 3D printing for production parts or goods in the next three-to-five years. However, their outlook on overall industry growth is less optimistic compared to previous participants in additive manufacturing surveys.

The survey also highlighted the consistent benefits of additive manufacturing, such as faster production, cost reduction, and the ability to address issues in production lines. Additionally, participants recognized prototyping as the use case with the most significant impact on product lifecycles.

One major challenge that participants identified is the cost and availability of materials. Materials were cited as the main financial burden to adopting 3D printing by 79% of participants, a significant increase from 18% in previous years. Additionally, nine out of 10 participants noted that the unavailability of desired materials is a major challenge. To overcome these hurdles, many participants are using custom-engineered materials as part of their additive manufacturing strategies.

Overall, the survey results indicate the growing popularity of 3D printing technologies in production environments. However, challenges related to materials cost and availability need to be addressed to fully leverage the potential of additive manufacturing. With continued innovations in additive materials, such as engineered materials with superior performance characteristics, the industry can overcome these obstacles and further revolutionize the manufacturing sector.

The Rise of Metal Materials in Additive Manufacturing

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the materials used in additive manufacturing. The use of metals, in particular, has skyrocketed, with a survey revealing a jump from 39% in 2019 to a staggering 92% this year. This drastic increase showcases the growing preference for metal materials, especially under the right conditions.

Jabil, a leading manufacturing solutions provider, has been at the forefront of this trend, continuously expanding its global additive manufacturing solutions. They have made significant advancements in additive materials and cutting-edge platforms, which perfectly complement their extensive manufacturing capabilities.

One of Jabil’s notable achievements is the development of Jabil PLA 3110P, a sustainable PLA powder based on NatureWorks’ Ingeo biopolymer. This innovative material has opened up new possibilities in additive manufacturing with its eco-friendly properties. Additionally, Jabil has also introduced Jabil PK 5000, an engineered material that offers enhanced chemical resistance and resilience compared to general-purpose nylon materials. These advancements highlight Jabil’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of additive manufacturing by introducing materials that meet the evolving needs of various industries.

The preference for metal materials is not surprising given their unique properties and advantages. Metals are known for their high strength, durability, and exceptional thermal conductivity. These characteristics make them ideal for applications where robust and heat-resistant components are required. Industries such as aerospace, automotive, and healthcare have already recognized the benefits of using metals in additive manufacturing.

The shift towards metal materials has also been facilitated by advancements in technology. Additive manufacturing processes, such as selective laser melting (SLM) and electron beam melting (EBM), have become more sophisticated and capable of producing intricate and complex metal parts. This increased capability, coupled with the growing availability of metal powders, has made it easier for manufacturers to incorporate metal materials into their additive manufacturing processes.

Jabil’s global presence and diverse portfolio of additive manufacturing solutions make them a trusted partner for businesses looking to leverage the benefits of metal materials. With over 250,000 employees spread across 100 locations in 30 countries, Jabil has the expertise and resources to support companies in their additive manufacturing journey.

Moreover, Jabil’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility sets them apart from their competitors. They strive to make a positive impact on both the local community and the environment through their manufacturing practices. By developing sustainable materials like Jabil PLA 3110P, they are driving the adoption of eco-friendly solutions in the additive manufacturing industry.

In conclusion, the rise of metal materials in additive manufacturing is a clear indication of the industry’s evolution and growing preference for robust and heat-resistant components. Jabil’s dedication to advancing additive materials and platforms positions them as a leader in this field. By continually pushing the boundaries and introducing innovative materials, Jabil is helping businesses unlock the full potential of additive manufacturing. With their global manufacturing capabilities and commitment to sustainability, Jabil is a valuable partner for companies looking to harness the benefits of metal materials in their additive manufacturing processes.

To learn more about Jabil and their additive manufacturing solutions, visit their website at www.jabil.com.

Contact:

Michael Kovacs

Senior Director, Marketing, Jabil

1.408.427.1191

michael_kovacs@jabil.com

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