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3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing Polymers and Processes

The global additive manufacturing industry has progressed very quickly offering broader and high value applications. This accelerating shift has been due to its advantages over conventional manufacturing. This guide would give you insights into the latest applications trends, classification of additive manufacturing processes, materials used in these processes and more.

Additive Manufacturing: Introduction

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), refers to various innovative processes that are used to manufacture three-dimensional products. In additive manufacturing, successive layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object. These objects can be of almost any shape or geometry and are produced from a digital 3D model or other electronic data source. Great attention has been given to this subject recently since it offers new opportunities for polymers in factories of the future.

3D Printing Ball

Additive manufacturing may be a more appropriate term to use than 3D printing because it includes all processes that are “additive”. The term “3D printing” applies more specifically to additive manufacturing processes that use a printer-like head for deposition of the material (e.g., material jetting), and 3D printing is now only one of the processes that is part of the additive manufacturing universe. Technical articles and standards generally use the term “additive manufacturing” to emphasize this broader meaning.

Additive Manufacturing Market

Additive manufacturing applicationsAdditive manufacturing applications appear to almost be limitless. Early use of 3D printing in the form of rapid prototyping focused on preproduction models. However, additive manufacturing is now being used to fabricate high-tech industrial (aerospace, medical/dental, automotive, electronic) and consumer (home, fashion, and entertainment) products, and today’s materials include not only polymers but also metals and ceramics.

The additive manufacturing industry is growing at a remarkable pace. In 2015 approximately $350 million USD were spent globally just on materials for additive manufacturing. The value of additive manufacturing global turnover is practically doubling every two years. The market for additive manufacturing, consisting of all products and services worldwide, has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.8%, on average, for the past years 2012–20141. Leading sectors in this field based on revenue services include automotive (19.5 percent), medical (15.1 percent), and aerospace (12.1 percent). Report publisher Wohlers Associates predicts that total global revenues in the additive manufacturing industry will exceed $7 billion in 2016.

Additive Manufacturing Advantages over Conventional Manufacturing


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