Conducted in partnership with 3dbpm Research, the HP AM Trends in EMEA Report found that 96 per cent of respondents agreed that additive manufacturing helps them get products to market faster. Nine in ten (91 per cent) manufacturers surveyed said that the ability to print parts on demand was a key benefit of additive, with more than four fifths (83 per cent) using the technology to deliver production parts for commercial products, rather than simply prototyping.
Additive is seen by many as just one strand of a wider digitalisation trend permeating through the industrial sector. Of the five key EMEA markets surveyed (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux and the UK), 63 per cent of respondents said they plan to invest between €100,000 and €1milliion in digitalisation over the coming 12 months. The UK is the region with the biggest spending plans, as 50 per cent of manufacturers plan to invest in excess of €1million over the next year.
“A digital transformation of manufacturing is underway,” said Guyante Sanmartin, global head & general manager, HP 3D Printing Multi Jet Fusion .
"The leading companies of the future will be those that harness the power of software, data, AI, and digital manufacturing to reinvent and personalise customer products and experiences. Great progress has been made over the last few years, with our HP Multi Jet Fusion technology delivering more than 60 million 3D printed parts since its inception. The need for this technology has increased exponentially over the last 15 months.”
Respondents in the UK also showed high confidence in AM growth in the medium-term future, with 100 per cent of those surveyed expecting extreme growth. British industrial parts manufacturers stated that on demand production (33 per cent) and the ability to make parts that can’t be produced with traditional manufacturing processes (34 per cent) were key drivers behind digitalisation.
"We mainly focus on low volume batch production of engineering parts and we produce as many as 750,000 parts per year,” says Nick Allen, managing director of 3DPRINTUK, one of the British participants in the survey.
“We've seen an average growth of 32 per cent over the past few years and we are projecting 55 per cent growth in 2021. The trend towards using additive manufacturing for production is ever-increasing: we have watched the industry evolve over the last 10 years. When we started, we were producing 90 per cent prototypes but now we’re producing around 90 per cent end-use parts. More and more companies are adopting additive into their products and I see no reason for that growth to slow. We, for one, have doubled our capacity over the past 12 months and are looking to further increase it over the coming 12 months.”