Initially a technology that was primarily used for prototyping, in recent years additive manufacturing (AM) has seen its use increase within a number of markets. With the price tags on machines coming down and capabilities improving, it’s safe to say that the innovative manufacturing method is growing at a much more rapid pace than it once was.
It’s important for business leaders to remember that it’s not all about replacing the old with the new – AM is about offering customers an additional service that can’t be achieved using conventional design and production techniques. There are certain occasions, such as small batch production, where the use of AM can not only match the production costs of conventional methods, but also offer a stronger, more aesthetically pleasing product.
In 2016, I think AM will begin to transform many areas of the industry. Here are my top predictions to look out for:
- Skills shortage
- Increased publicity