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Sculpteo’s 5th Edition of the “State of 3D Printing”: 3D Printing Is Replacing Industrial Manufacturing

Sculpteo, leader in online 3D printing and digital manufacturing, releases its fifth edition of the “State of 3D Printing”, the international annual survey that runs a diagnostic on 3D printing and offers a complete overview of the additive manufacturing world. The survey compiled a representative sample of international business players that demonstrate that 3D printing is becoming a manufacturing standard with increasing and more different applications. Thus, businesses spend significantly more on 3D printing, as the technology helps them go through new challenges: from research to simulation, and from prototyping to production.

Each year Sculpteo collects data about the additive manufacturing industry to highlight keys trends about this dynamic and rapidly evolving industry. Over 1,300 respondents answered the survey, coming from Europe (64 %), United States (16,6 %) and Asia, with the highest representation in the last 5 years (20,2%). The survey also shows an increase in women respondents of 2%, and a significant decrease of the age segment (respondents under 35 nearly doubled in one year to 53%). Respondents come from 8 industry segments, from food processing to aeronautics and High Tech which increased by 5 points to 10,6%.

According to Clément Moreau, CEO and co-founder of Sculpteo: “Our fifth study shows that 3D printing and digital manufacturing continue to radically change the landscape of industrial manufacturing. While the technology’s benefits for companies leads to more spending, figures speak for themselves: 51% who report using AM in a manufacturing capacity. It seems industries have already noted: these new technologies offer are major assets in improving their whole production process and boosting their business strategies”.

Investments in 3D printing have doubled!

The survey shows that companies dedicate an even larger budget to their additive manufacturing activities: compared to 2018, the investments doubled, and 25,6% of the respondents invested more than $100k, as opposed to 12% the previous year. These companies saw all the benefits of this technology for their industry and are likely to invest in 3D printing next year, with 20% saying they will increase their investment by more than 100%. Positioned at the forefront of innovation, power users have been using the technology for more than 3 years. Among all respondents, 47% of power users will increase their investment by at least 50% during the year. Among benefits such as the lower costs and the short lead time, 70% professionals (versus 48% last year) stated complex geometries are a benefit.

3D printing is not just a prototyping technology

Accelerating product development is a very stable top priority over time: it’s still the most quoted one since the 1st survey in 2015, followed by offering customized products and limited series. While proof of concept and prototyping still dominate applications, the use of additive manufacturing for production increased to 51% from 17% in 2015. A trend that relates to the evolution of materials and technologies.

Focus on the workforce

The study shows that heavy users, who use 3D printing at least a few times each month, account to 70% of respondents, and they are highly educated: almost 90% have completed post-secondary education, and more than 50% have at least a Master’s degree. 64% come from an engineering background.
To fully capitalize on 3D printing, for 40,7% of respondents, training and education are essential criteria where the industry still needs to grow. Indeed, for a total of 14% of the respondents, lack of training is a barrier in expending the use of 3D printing. Only around 5% of respondents gained their knowledge of 3D printing from formal education and almost 60% learned on the job.
Access the full survey: https://info.sculpteo.com/the-state-of-3d-printing-report