The Number of Applications Will Grow
In 2018, more industries will find more ways to use additive manufacturing for more applications. Materials other than plastics, such as metals, will help facilitate these new uses, especially in industries such as the automotive and aerospace sectors. Researchers will also continue to work on printing biocompatible materials for use in the healthcare industry, and we may see some significant advances in this field.
New and Better Designs Will Surface
3D printing will enable better product design as more companies start to use it during the design and prototyping process, along with Internet of Things technology. The speed and cost reductions that 3D printing provides in the prototyping phase will allow companies to test more versions of their design. It also allows them to easily save and access their designs, test out different ideas and combine aspects of various designs.
Processes Will Accelerate
The speed of the 3D printing process will continue to increase, making it more competitive with traditional manufacturing methods. Experts expect this trend to be driven largely by software. Current players in the field will continue to improve their products’ speeds while research labs will continue to work on innovative new designs.
Costs Will Continue to Fall
Another factor that will fuel increased adoption is the continued lowering of costs, while the technology keeps improving. While 3D printing has always been great for short-run production, the technology will start to emerge as a strategy for reducing expenses at a larger scale as printers become more readily scalable.
As technological advances allow manufacturers to print using more material types, companies will be able to save more money by reducing waste.
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