A global survey of additive manufacturing decision makers conducted by Jabil Inc (NYSE: JBL) confirms the continued rise of 3D printing technologies and additive materials in manufacturing environments. Despite obstacles such as cost and material availability, 3D printing is catching on.
“The results of our latest manufacturing survey confirm our experiences in helping customers leverage the speed and agility of 3D printing to transform different manufacturing steps — from prototyping to production,” said Luke Rodgers, Jabil’s senior director of R&D for additive manufacturing. “In particular, this survey underscores how increased adoption of additive manufacturing is driving demand for differentiated additive materials with improved physical properties to deliver greater functionality, increased sustainability, and economies of scale.”
The survey, conducted by SIS International Research, included 200 additive manufacturing representatives. More than 50% of executives surveyed see additive manufacturing as a strategic opportunity, while 40% view 3D printing as a viable alternative for product development and manufacturing.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents produced at least 10,000 3D-printed parts last year. Use cases are primarily prototyping (97%), research and development (75%) and production components (59%). The use of 3D printing for fixtures and tooling has nearly doubled since 2017.
Despite the perceived benefits, material costs remain a key barrier. 79% of respondents see this as the biggest financial burden, with the additional problem of unavailability of desired materials.
Two-thirds of respondents use custom materials in their overall strategy, possibly in response to material shortages and increased demands. The use of plastics/polymers remains widespread, but that of metals is rising sharply.
Jabil continues to expand its global additive manufacturing solutions to deliver continuous advances in additive materials and state-of-the-art platforms.