Updated: Feb 24, 2020
The past several years of growth in the Additive market are setting the stage for a keen focus on two main topics in the near future - scalability and sustainability. These trends should really take hold and accelerate rapidly in 2020, especially in the post-printing segment.
Bruno Bourguet, Managing Director | PostProcess Technologies www.postprocess.com
In terms of scalability, prototype volumes are growing from thousands to hundreds of thousands per year. This reality is becoming prevalent at companies across a range of industries and as such, the industry needs automated solutions that enable the "rapid" part of rapid prototyping to serve these users. Additionally, more companies are considering Additive for volume production, which increases the urgency for a more fully automated workflow, ensuring equal or better standards in terms of traceability, quality, process control compared to what is available today from traditional manufacturing technologies. Brute-forcing post-printing with manual labor and traditional mechanical solutions are simply not an option when scaling to volume production, even at low volume. Instead, companies are looking to connect the end-to-end digital thread of their printing operations to achieve their ideal levels of throughput and consistency in an automated fashion.
Source: PostProcess Technologies - Automatic PolyJet Support Removal
Sustainability is concurrently becoming a top priority for leading corporations. Moving to Additive technologies, especially as volumes grow to a significant portion of overall manufacturing operations, will increase the focus on the sustainability impact of Additive operations. It is expected that, as a key driver of Industry 4.0, Additive manufacturing contributes positively to the necessary efforts leading to producing goods in a more sustainable fashion. However, it is the case that today’s archaic methods used in post-printing 3D manufactured products adds challenges to reaching sustainability goals, be it in terms of safety at work or environmental impact of methods currently in use. This is a critical element in the shift towards scalability as the attention to the care of a company's resources, outputs, and environmental impact is proven to yield a better business outcome.
Source: PostProcess Technologies - Automatic FDM Support Removal
Companies with their eyes on scaling their Additive operations and in a sustainable way need to look beyond just the print step. Many are now realizing the tremendous impact that post-printing has on the success of their investment in Additive. Looking beyond the archaic ways of post-printing utilized in the past, there is a great opportunity waiting in post-processing for companies to exponentially accelerate their Additive objectives in 2020 and beyond.