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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

MCADCafe Industry Predictions for 2024 – Wohlers

January 18th, 2024 by Sanjay Gangal

By Terry Wohlers, Head of Advisory Services and Market Intelligence, Wohlers Associates, powered by ASTM International

Terry Wohlers

The following forecasts are related to additive manufacturing (AM) and related processes. The impact of new developments in AM is almost never like flipping a switch. Most require many years to unfold and mature to full commercialization.

The architecture and construction industry continues to explore ways to put AM to work. Some examples are interesting, but many are not. Even so, organizations are beginning to determine when and where AM produces real value. Until better materials and business cases develop, much of the value will come from improved aesthetics and architectural creativity.

Automotive chassis, suspension, brakes, and other major subsystems will be produced for high-end cars from Aston Martin, Ferrari, Mercedes-AMG, and others. Divergent Technologies is leading much of this work and paving the way for mainstream (i.e., more affordable) automobiles, which will take several more years.

Expect to see increased use of AM for heat exchanger design and production. One has been certified for use on the F-35 combat aircraft, with Sintavia playing an important role.

Companies in aerospace, healthcare, and oil/gas continue to be challenged by the qualification and certification requirements tied to the design and production of parts by AM. Some advanced designs, such as those with internal lattice structures, can make inspection difficult and expensive.

A growing number of companies will consider how they can create and store inventories digitally and then manufacture on-demand. These platforms will help support semi-custom design and manufacturing, which adds value and increases profits. Relatively few will succeed in putting it into practice over the next year due to upfront costs and ROI uncertainty.

Organizations will place more importance on the carbon footprint impact of AM. Many will find that sustainable products are less costly to produce due to the use of less material and improved energy savings during production. Even so, it can be challenging to accurately calculate. The approach becomes more attractive when considering the energy savings of transportation products, such as aircraft. Design for additive manufacturing (DfAM), such as consolidating many parts into one, contributes by reducing manufacturing processes, assembly, and inventory.

It is interesting to consider new and emerging applications of AM. Among them are the 3D printing of medicine, food, living tissue, electronics, fashion designs, and home and office furniture. They show the impressive breadth and promise of AM beyond industrial applications. None will “move the needle” in 2024, but they are important to watch. They could trigger new ideas that may lead to something big in the future.

About Author:

Terry Wohlers is head of advisory services and market intelligence at Wohlers Associates, powered by ASTM International. He and his team have provided consulting assistance to more than 280 organizations in 27 countries, as well as to nearly 200 companies in the investment community. He has authored 440 books, articles, and technical papers and has given 180 keynote presentations on six continents.

Wohlers has served as a featured speaker at events in the White House in 2012 and 2014 and has appeared on many television and radio news programs. Among them are Bloomberg TV, CNBC, CNN, Fox Business, MSNBC, NPR, and Australia’s Sky News. He is a principal author of the Wohlers Report, the undisputed industry-leading report on additive manufacturing and 3D printing worldwide for 28 consecutive years.

Category: Predictions

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