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 MCADCafe Editorial
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 – Materialise

January 4th, 2024 by Sanjay Gangal

By Bart Van der Schueren, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer (CSTO) at Materialise.

Bart Van der Schueren,

3D Printing Trends For 2024: Shaping the Future of Manufacturing

As we stand on the brink of 2024, Materialise reflects on the dynamic landscape of 3D printing, anticipating not just growth, but a fundamental shift in adoption patterns. In the coming year, we predict four key trends – or shifts – that will redefine the industry.

Trend 1: 3D Printing – Fast Friend or Part of the Family?

In the realm of 3D printing, we’re witnessing a dual evolution—two approaches coexisting harmoniously. The first approach, “3D Printing as a Service,” embraces external expertise, offering swift and cost-effective solutions for one-off parts and prototypes through service bureaus. Simultaneously, the second approach sees 3D printing seamlessly integrated into production processes, revolutionizing mass manufacturing. Companies now recognize its intrinsic value and leverage it to print specific components for larger series of end-use parts or engage in the mass production of customized goods.

This dual approach marks a departure from the traditional role of 3D printing, transforming it from a peripheral player to an integral part of the production orchestra. At the same time, the demand for application-specific machines and workflows is driving innovation across the entire spectrum, from hardware to post-processing and software.

Trend 2: Mid-Range Machines Revolutionize the Market

Historically, the 3D printing market presented a binary choice—low-budget or top-end machines, with quality often coming at a premium. Recognizing the untapped potential of a significant customer segment, manufacturers are introducing mid-priced machines targeting the mid-range market. These machines deliver highly competitive quality across the entire technology spectrum, democratizing access to high-quality 3D printing.

This transformative trend opens doors for diverse customer groups, including price-sensitive online players, in-house 3D printing services seeking quality within budget constraints, and application-specific 3D printing. The result is a more accessible entry point for scaling manufacturing operations.

Trend 3: Shifting Mindsets: From ‘Why?’ to ‘How?’

Beyond technological advancements, a sig nificant shift is occurring in how companies perceive 3D printing. The industry has moved past convincing companies “why” they should adopt 3D printing; instead, the focus is on the “how.” Companies now view 3D printing as a complementary force, seamlessly integrating with traditional manufacturing techniques.

The challenge lies in implementation and scaling. Companies are grappling with the “how” of integrating 3D printing into their operations. Overcoming this hurdle is pivotal, requiring industry-wide efforts in training, workforce development, innovative business models, and user-friendly solutions. This collaborative approach will determine the success or stagnation of companies venturing into the realm of 3D printing.

Trend 4: Mass Manufacturing Meets 3D printing: Will Dream Become Reality?  

Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, a transformative trend is set to reshape manufacturing—the convergence of mass manufacturing and 3D printing. Companies are increasingly recognizing the unique advantages offered by 3D printing technology, but the key to widespread adoption remains the delicate balance between quality and cost.

In China, a notable change is underway, with new machines managing costs effectively and making large-scale production a reality. Affordable materials further enhance feasibility, enabling the mass manufacturing of intricate components. Beyond China, markets like Germany and the United States are advancing this transformative journey, driven by the emphasis on multi-laser printers to drive down costs.

As we peer into the future, the prospect of 3D printing becoming an integral player in mass manufacturing becomes increasingly plausible, ushering in an era where seamless integration is not just a concept but a tangible reality. The stage is set for 3D printing to take its place as a transformative force in the manufacturing landscape.

About Author:
Bart Van der Schueren

Chief Strategy and Technology Officer

Bart Van der Schueren has served as an Executive Vice President of our company since January 2011 and as our Chief Technology Officer since 2016. In February 2022, he also assumed the position of Vice President of the Materialise Software segment. Prior to joining Materialise, Mr. Van der Schueren was at KU Leuven as a liaison engineer for the newly founded Materialise and established the basic research activities for the company while also founding the research activities in 3D printing at the KU Leuven. Mr. Van der Schueren then went on to obtain a PhD in selective laser metal sintering. In 1995, Mr. Van der Schueren officially joined Materialise and ran the service bureau. Over the years, his dedication and expertise has grown the service bureau from a regional player to one of the most prominent additive manufacturing facilities in Europe. In 2011, Mr. Van der Schueren became an Executive Vice President of our company, responsible for the Materialise Manufacturing segment and focusing on production and engineering services. Since 2018, Mr. Van der Schueren is globally responsible for the research activities of Materialise, and since 2022, he is also responsible for the activities of the Materialise Software segment. Mr. Van der Schueren holds a PhD in Selective Laser Metal Sintering and a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from KU Leuven.

Category: Industry Predictions

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