Industrial additive manufacturing and industrial 3D Printing in evolution – definitions, research, examples and resources from Barcelona Industry Week event IN(3D)USTRY.
Additive manufacturing might not be the best known and certainly most mentioned aspects of the whole Industry 4.0 range of technologies/applications but it’s certainly one of the most exciting, promising and ground-breaking ones (for us at least).
We need to differ though. Even if, as a term, additive manufacturing is still relatively recent, it is less so as a practice. And from the same terminology perspective, 3D Printing is far more popular (and, again, as a term also relatively recent) and is used as a synonym for additive manufacturing. In practice, it is, well, not that new either.
So, additive manufacturing and 3D printing are used interchangeably and in essence both are one and the same in several senses: building parts and objects based upon layers of several possible materials, using several possible techniques and for several possible applications, industries and purposes (which determine, among others the used materials and so forth).
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing – confusions and terminologies
We have a bit of problem though with using the term 3D printing interchangeably with additive manufacturing because if you really dive deeper in reality and also look at the origins and roots of both you’ll notice they are not fully the same, to say the least.
It’s not just about the fact that they are different in several regards, even if they have many common characteristics (e.g. the fact that they are based upon manufacturing methods using layers), it’s also about how the terms are used. You will definitely read about 3D printing in a consumer context (and can buy 3D printers for consumer usage or simple applications at will), additive manufacturing is more related to industrial applications.
Anyway, all this might be food for other articles but it is what it is: in the industry 3D printing is used as a synonym for additive manufacturing, whether we like it or not. Analysts seem to prefer to use the term 3D printing as well. IDC, for instance has added it to its lists of so-called ‘innovation accelerators‘ since quite some time now – although these innovation accelerators on top of its 3rd platform are not bound to an industry.
Yet, when we look at the title of its March 2017 Market Perspective we see that IDC called it 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing “Ones to Watch,” 2017. Quoting research director Tim Greene: “3D printing/additive manufacturing has been identified by IDC as an innovation accelerator”. On our Industry 4.0 overview page you can see how the Boston Consulting Group (SlideShare) speaks about additive manufacturing as one of nine digital industrial technologies, adding 1) “3D printing, particularly for spare parts and prototypes” (prototyping and rapid prototyping are important in the whole 3D and additive equation) and 2) “decentralized 3D facilities to reduce transport distances and inventory”.
Gartner defines additive manufacturing as “the capability to create a physical object from a digitally encoded design through the deposition of material via a 3D printing process”, while 3D printing is defined as “an additive technique that uses a device to create physical objects from digital models”. The devil is in the details.
Challenges in industrial 3D Printing and resources from IN(3D)USTRY
The market is moving fast as IDC’s Tim Greene says, yet that’s not everywhere and always the case of course.
In February 2017, for example, IDC published a press release stating that in Europe, the aerospace and healthcare industries lead 3D printing adoption for finished part manufacturing but at the same time points out several barriers for the 3D printing industry on the level of:
- regulatory compliance and
- a lack of industry-specific solutions.
In the meantime, additive manufacturing keeps evolving; again it is a very exciting field to be in today and we’ve seen some remarkable innovations and applications in additive manufacturing and INDUSTRIAL (terminology problem partially solved) 3D printing, as well as other models.
If it’s all still a bit confusing and challenging but you want to know what exactly exists and can be achieved, including success stories, you might want to pay a visit to “IN(3D)USTRY From Needs to Solutions” or check out some of the videos (more below).
IN(3D)USTRY is an event that solely focuses on additive manufacturing and advanced manufacturing. In 2017 it takes place on 3 – 5 October in Barcelona. Although it is only the second edition it’s worth the while, especially if you happen to be at the IoT Solutions World Congress 2017 which takes place on the same days in the same (Gran Via) venue. IN(3D)USTRY is also one of the eight events of the Barcelona Industry Week 2017.
In a press release the show’s director, Miquel Serrano, promises that “the second edition of IN(3D)USTRY From Needs to Solutions is aiming to be the meeting point for identifying the challenges posed by companies from the automotive, aeronautics, retail and health sectors and the solutions offered by all the players within these sectors, from printer manufacturers to software developers and the creators of robots, for example”.
To provide you with more information about additive and advanced manufacturing we gathered some videos from last year’s (first) edition of IN(3D)USTRY From Needs to Solutions (and a few commercial ones but they do tell the story), which was good for over 3,000 visitors, saw some pretty exciting new additive manufacturing solutions from several market leaders and of course focused on the many topics and several cases with regards to additive manufacturing.
The image above on top of the page shows a metal 3D printer. Direct metal laser sintering or DMLS is another additive manufacturing technique which uses a Ytterbium fibre laser fired into a bed of powdered metal. Copyright: Moreno Soppelsa – All other images are the property of their respective mentioned owners.