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Digital manufacturing tech more important than ever

A worldwide survey of thousands of manufacturing executives by HP has found that the vast majority plan to invest in digital technologies over the next year, with 3D printing taking centre stage.

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HP’s research on digital manufacturing trends found that the current business landscape in 2020 is driving more investment in digitalisation.

Nearly nine in ten of the manufacturers surveyed said they were looking to evolve their business model because of the current world environment. Over the next 12 months, 71 per cent plan on investing in digital manufacturing technologies, and over nine in ten said they were investigating new production and supply chain models.

In particular, respondents were increasingly looking to 3D printing because of its suitability for driving innovation, mass customisation, production on demand, waste reduction and a more sustainable economy.

The vast majority of respondents (91 per cent) believed mass customisation could be applicable to their business if parts could be personalised through 3D printing/additive manufacturing techniques. The medical, industrial and automotive sectors were singled out as the most ripe area for 3D printing over the next five years.

Sustainability was also seen as a key driver, with 3D printing presenting opportunities to reduce the amount of materials used in production, better match supply and demand, shorten and simplify supply chains, and improve service options that could prolong the life of products.

Ramon Pastor, General Manager of HP 3D Printing & Digital Manufacturing, said:

“The global manufacturing sector is clearly signalling a desire for greater supply chain resiliency, more manufacturing flexibility, increased speed of innovation, and stronger environmental sustainability. And they are seeing industrial 3D printing as a way to not only lower costs and go to market faster, but as a unique competitive advantage that accelerates innovation for customers.”

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