Software company Materialise identifies five 3D printing trends for 2019

By:Don Nelson

It's December.That means holiday cheer and a spate of articles,columns,and blogs predicting trends that will shape manufacturing in 2019.

A good trends piece about additive manufacturing was posted recently on the website of the Belgian software companyMaterialise.(The firm has a in Plymouth,Mich.)

Titled"Polymers,Productivity,and Policy: 3D Printing Trends in 2019,"the blog predicts the following for next year:

1. Applications,not technology,will drive the 3D printing industry forward.According to Materialise,the industry will continue shifting its focus to identifying the right applications for 3D printing rather than developing new technologies.Investments will not go to"machine manufacturers anymore but to companies and start-ups that apply 3D printing to create real added value in specific domains.""

2. A rise in polymer materials for 3D printing."Last year,we predicted that metal 3D printing would get its deserved attention in 2018.This time around,it's the plastic materials for 3D printing that have been preparing for substantial growth in 2019.Major material manufacturers are playing a big role in this movement.""

3. Software will be the key to boosting productivity in 3D printing."3D printing started three decades ago as a rapid-prototyping technology,evolved into a customization technology,and now is being adopted for serial manufacturing.As industries work on integrating 3D printing into their production mix,their challenges are less about technology and more about economics.The goal is to reduce costs and to increase efficiency.""

4. Technology-neutral interconnectivity,not proprietary solutions."For 3D printing to … claim a bigger share of the $12 trillion [global manufacturing market],the 3D printing industry needs to offer interoperability and technology-neutral solutions.If industrial manufacturers want to be serious about adopting 3D printing as a complementary manufacturing technology for final products,they simply cannot afford to be locked into proprietary solutions that limit their flexibility and choice.""

5. Governments will get more involved."We have seen 3D printing emerge as a discussion williamhill彩票point in governmental environments,"said a Materialise spokesperson,"and we believe this will increase significantly in 2019.This rise is a signal that 3D printing is gaining importance in society and is freeing itself from the label of a prototyping technology.""

Happy holidays.And here's hoping that your life─both personally and professionally─trends upward throughout 2019.

Don Nelson has reported on and been in the manufacturing industry for more than 25 years.