5 Key 3D Printing Trends to Look Out for in 2022!
The year is well on its way, but that doesn’t mean the latter half of 2022 can’t bring surprises with it. Industry trends take time to manifest in the market, and the 2022 key trends for 3D printing are no …
The year is well on its way, but that doesn’t mean the latter half of 2022 can’t bring surprises with it. Industry trends take time to manifest in the market, and the 2022 key trends for 3D printing are no different.
3D printing and additive manufacturing experts made many predictions of what the year might bring. We’re just now starting to see some of the changes they forecast. There have also been sudden surprises that no one could see coming.
Let’s take a look at the five key 3D printing and additive manufacturing trends in 2022. We’ll also highlight three 3D printers that are making an impact this year.
1. Supply Chain Integration
Global supply chains have become a hot topic over the past couple of years — and for a good reason. At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, 66% of supply chain operators experienced chronic disruptions, according to the ASCM. Further developments since then have only made the situation worse.
3D printing is ideally positioned to reduce reliance on overstretched supply chains. It enables localized production, either in-house with your own printers or at the nearest 3D printing service. Consequently, businesses can reduce lead times and shipping costs, while also cutting back on standing inventory.
Additive manufacturing is increasingly moving in to plug the gaps in supply chains. In 2021, 37% of businesses operating 3D printers had seen new market opportunities and increased demand for additively manufactured parts due to supply issues with traditionally made parts. This year, this trend is expected to only grow stronger.
2. Increasing Innovation
3D printing technologies and materials have been developing at breakneck speed in recent years. Industry experts see no reason for the pace of innovation to slow down this year.
New printers — like the Markforged FX20 — are pushing the envelope with 3D printing technologies. Meanwhile, new materials are making existing printers and technologies applicable to novel use cases that may have been impossible before. For example, Formlabs just recently released a series of polyurethane SLA resins.
But it’s not just about printing with better machines and materials. Perhaps the most significant emerging trend is the automation of additive manufacturing. As more companies apply 3D printing in mid-to-high-level production, they will need advanced and smart full-factory automation solutions, said Avi Reichental, Nexa3D co-founder.
The increased degree of automation is set to make 3D printing faster and more efficient. At the same time, thanks to new materials and technologies, the quality of parts is set to go ever higher.
3. Medical Leads the Way
In 2021, the top three fields using 3D printers were industrial goods, service bureau/manufacturing, and consumer goods, according to a Sculpteo survey. However, this year a surprising new player is entering the ring.
The adoption of 3D printing will be growing across markets. But experts predict that by the end of the year, the medical and dental sectors will have emerged as growth leaders in the additive manufacturing scene.
Although the medical industry may not seem like the obvious choice, its emergence makes sense. First, there’s a growing demand for more customisable and comfortable prosthetics and dental implants. Second, hospitals and clinics are still trying to get over the shortage of medical devices COVID-19 caused.
As the healthcare industry continues to grapple with challenges such as the labour shortage, the ongoing pandemic and demand for more personalized care, 3D printing is the technology that can both improve and streamline key medical processes. These demands spark the inflection point that will lead to increased adoption of 3D printing,” said Luke Winston, Formlabs’ chief business officer.
Climate change and tightening government regulations around the world are opening doors for additive manufacturing. 3D printing is well-positioned to help improve sustainability in the wider manufacturing sector.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that additive manufacturing can cut waste production and materials costs by as much as 90% when compared to traditional manufacturing. This is due to the fact that 3D printers build parts by depositing material instead of whittling it away from a larger chunk. At the same time, 3D printing can slash energy use in manufacturing by half.
Additive manufacturing also shortens supply chains, thus eliminating a significant amount of carbon emissions. As manufacturers can print parts in-house or nearby, there’s no need for extensive shipping. And when parts need to be shipped, 3D printed components can significantly reduce vehicle or aeroplane weight, resulting in fuel savings.
As global manufacturing struggles with supply chain issues and emissions regulations, industry experts expect more and more businesses to move towards 3D printing to increase their sustainability.
5. Standardization and Collaboration
There are myriad 3D printers and materials out there, and one of the bigger issues with the industry has been its fragmented nature. However, this situation is projected to begin to change this year.
Experts expect the 3D printing industry to begin to move towards standardization in 2022. This trend is set to make it easier for manufacturers to achieve interoperability between different machines. 3D printer users, meanwhile, will become less tied down by their initial choice of 3D printer brand.
Since users can switch between different printers and materials more easily, experts say the new environment will drive innovation. Manufacturers have an incentive to offer competitive technologies users can mix and match. Meanwhile, the users themselves will reap the benefits of better 3D printer performance.
3 Best 3D Printers to Keep an Eye on in 2022 …
With advancing technology, it can be a challenge to keep track of the latest and greatest printers. Here are two 3D printers that are breaking new ground in 2022 — and one reliable workhorse that you can always count on.
Formlabs Fuse 1 …
Formlabs Fuse 1 is revolutionizing SLS 3D printing. These types of printers have traditionally been hulking, expensive machines that small-scale operators can’t afford. But Fuse 1 offers industrial-level SLS productivity in a workshop-sized package.
Fuse 1 uses Nylon powders to print detailed and durable components for prototyping and small-batch manufacturing. It’s a low-maintenance and affordable machine that brings professional SLS printing capability even to small businesses.
Markforged FX20 …
The Markforged FX20 is the latest addition to the company’s line of composite 3D printers. Released in the latter half of 2021, manufacturers have since realized the potential of the machine.
FX20 is the largest and fastest FFF printer in Markforged’s catalogue. Thanks to its extensive material library and large print sizes, you can produce large, high-performance, high-resistance parts for demanding industries, like aerospace, automotive, or energy.
Formlabs Form 3+ …
The Formlabs Form 3 platform has been serving the 3D printing industry for a few years now, and it’s still going strong. But for 2022, Formlabs updated the platform to the Form 3+ version.
The upgraded Form 3+ is up to 40% faster than its previous incarnation, but it still offers the same high part quality with a large variety of available resins. This flexible, affordable, and efficient printer is an industry favourite for a reason. But it turns out you can still teach an old dog new tricks.
Do you have more questions about the trends in 3D printing for 2022 and beyond? The experts at Solid Print3D are happy to share their knowledge! Call us at 01926 333 777 or email us at email@example.com.