The Indian AM sector was highlighted during the 12th International Conference on 3D Printing Technologies in 2023.

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3D Printing Industry recently had the opportunity to attend the 12th International Conference on 3D Printing in Bangalore. Hosted by the Additive Manufacturing Society of India (AMSI) in alliance with Messe München, the conference shed light on the rapid growth of additive manufacturing applications in various industries in India.

Dr. L. Jyotish Kumar, President of AMSI, highlighted the significant growth of additive manufacturing in sectors such as aerospace, defense, automotive, industrial engineering, oil and gas, biomedical, architecture, and even in the construction industry in India. This growth is reflective of the country’s booming manufacturing sector, which is one of the fastest growing industries in the world.

The conference, held at the Bangalore International Exhibition Center (BIEC) from September 13th, attracted thousands of attendees, including experts from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Hexagon, and Indo MIM, among others. Dignitaries lit the lamp to mark the beginning of the program, symbolizing the illumination of knowledge and innovation in the field of additive manufacturing.

One of the highlights of the conference was the inaugural address by Ashok H. Varma, Chairman, Founder, and Investor at Efesto, and Senior Advisor to Indian DRDO for metal 3D printing. Varma provided insights into the Indian 3D printing sector, revealing that in 2017, he estimated its size to be around $25 to $35 million, while the global sector was estimated at $7.5 to $8 billion. However, according to Varma’s market research, the Indian 3D printing market is projected to reach $75 million by 2022.

While there has been progress in the Indian additive manufacturing industry, Varma emphasized the importance of investment to bridge the gap between the global and Indian sectors. Currently, the global industry is valued at $23 billion, while the Indian industry is estimated to be in the range of $50-100 million. Varma stressed the need for more investments to foster the growth of additive manufacturing technologies in India.

Varma also highlighted the stark difference in venture capital investments between the US and India in the 3D printing sector. While approximately 17 to 18 venture capitalists in the US have invested over $15 billion in 3D printing startups, there have been no venture capital investments in this domain in India. Varma pointed out that companies like Agnikul and Skyroot in India have raised figures between $20 to $50 million, but the 3D printing aspect of their manufacturing process is only around 5%. In contrast, US companies are using massive Direct Energy Deposition (DED) machines and advanced robotics to 3D print entire rocket bodies.

In the aerospace sector, Varma emphasized the role of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) as a significant sponsor of 3D printing. Dr. Anil Kumar, a scientist at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, ISRO, is considered the “champion of ISRO for 3D printing” and is expected to acquire the largest metal 3D printer in Asia. Venkata Govinda Rao, Chief General Manager at U.R. Rao Satellite Centre (USRC), ISRO, discussed the organization’s decade-long journey with 3D printing and its benefits in terms of lead times, lightweighting, and part quality in the aerospace sector.

The conference also showcased India’s recent successful space program, including the development of Chandrayaan 3, which utilized 3D printing for around 40 to 50% of its components. Dr. V. Narayanan, Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, ISRO, highlighted the advantages of using 3D printing technologies in the aerospace sector.

Overall, the conference provided valuable insights into the current state and future potential of the Indian additive manufacturing industry. While the sector has experienced slow growth, there are promising signs of progress, particularly in the aerospace, aviation, and defense sectors. The call for more investments and support from government and venture capitalists is crucial to bridge the gap between the global and Indian additive manufacturing sectors and drive further growth and innovation in India.

Breaking Boundaries: India’s Journey in Additive Manufacturing

In a milestone achievement for the nation, Chandrayaan 3, India’s lunar mission, successfully landed on the Moon’s south pole on August 23, 2023. The remarkable feat not only made headlines worldwide but also positioned India as the first country to accomplish this incredible task. The lander, Vikram, and the rover, Pragyan, have been tirelessly working to conduct scientific experiments and study the Moon’s surface and atmosphere.

But how did India reach such great heights in aerospace technology? The secret lies in the country’s embrace of Additive Manufacturing (AM) techniques. According to Anand Narayanan, an expert in the field, India has been actively pursuing AM methods like Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), Electron Beam Melting, and Binder Jetting. These techniques allow for the creation of complex geometries and significantly reduce material waste. Moreover, AM technologies have paved the way for low-cost access to space, opening up new possibilities for India’s space exploration endeavors.

It is worth noting that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) played a crucial role in the development of Chandrayaan 3. ISRO developed four key propulsion systems, two of which were utilized in the launch vehicle for Chandrayaan 3. These propulsion systems facilitated the mission’s success by placing it in the central orbit and bringing the Moon closer to India. Narayanan believes that investments in academia, startups, and other sectors will continue to propel India’s achievements to new heights in the future.

Speaking about the future of AM and its impact on academia and employment, Padmashri Dr. Ganpat I Patel, Patron-in-Chief & President of Ganpat University, emphasized the need for AM education and bridging the gender gap in employment. Dr. Patel’s university has created a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for 3D printing, which serves as a demonstration and training center for AM technologies. The CoE aims to provide the right education, foster employment, and address the gender imbalance prevalent in the country.

Expanding on this issue, Dr. K. Kavya Shree, Chairwoman of the Indian Women in 3D Printing (IW3DP) Society, highlighted the significant disparity in female labor force participation in India. Although India boasts one of the fastest-growing economies globally, with a projected 6.1% growth rate, female labor force participation remains at a mere 29.4% compared to 61.7% in China. Dr. Shree provided statistics that revealed 43% of STEM graduates in India are women, the highest rate globally. However, the conversion rate of these graduates to corresponding jobs stands at just 14%. Dr. Shree established IW3DP to encourage female employment in AM, increase networking opportunities, and explore new avenues in the field. She believes that achieving 50% representation of women in Indian 3D printing is a challenging task without support from academia and the government.

Recognizing the importance of government initiatives in promoting AM, Dr. Sankha dip Das, a scientist from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), shed light on India’s national strategy to become a global AM hub by 2025. The strategy aims to achieve a 5% share in the global AM market, contributing $1 billion to India’s GDP. Additionally, it seeks to foster the development of 50 India-specific AM technologies, create 100 new AM startups, and train 100,000 skilled workers in the field. In order to accomplish these goals, infrastructure development and industry facilitation in academia are crucial, leading to increased employment opportunities.

India is making determined strides in its journey through the world of AM. While the global AM ecosystem primarily serves large-scale manufacturing in defense and aerospace, India aims to address its unique challenges. Dubbed as “India 2” and “India 3,” which include semi-urban, rural areas, and the poorest regions, the country acknowledges the need for innovation and transformation in manufacturing. With the development of twelve R&D and deployment centers underway, India is set on realizing the targets set forth by the national strategy.

India’s success story in AM demonstrates the power of embracing new technologies and investments in academia, startups, and government initiatives. By breaking barriers and bridging gender gaps, India is continuously pushing the boundaries in AM and securing its place as a global leader in the field. With each step forward, the nation paves the way for a brighter future filled with endless possibilities.

The future of 3D printing in India looks promising, with a projected market size of $1.4 trillion for India 3 and $300 million for India 2. However, it is crucial to address the needs of SMEs and ensure that the technology being developed is compatible with their operations.

During a keynote address, a scientist emphasized the importance of investments in academia, startups, and qualifications for the growth of 3D printing in India. With these investments, India has the potential to become a powerhouse in additive manufacturing in the coming decades.

But what does the future hold for 3D printing in the next ten years? What engineering challenges will the additive manufacturing sector face? The answers to these questions are yet to be discovered, but one thing is for sure – the 3D printing industry is constantly evolving, and there is still much to be discovered and achieved.

If you want to stay updated with the latest news in 3D printing, don’t forget to subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry newsletter and follow them on social media. They provide a wide range of content, including discussions, debriefs, video shorts, and webinar replays.

Are you interested in a career in the additive manufacturing industry? Visit 3D Printing Jobs for a selection of roles available in the field. This is a great opportunity to be part of an industry that is driving innovation and shaping the future of manufacturing.

In conclusion, the potential of 3D printing in India is vast, and there are exciting opportunities for growth and development. With the right investments, support for SMEs, and a focus on academic and technological advancements, India has the potential to become a major player in the additive manufacturing industry. So, who will win the 2023 3D Printing Industry Awards? Only time will tell.

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