Polls are fun if for no other reason than they confirm what you suspect or maybe even know. London Business Conferences recently conducted a cross-industry poll on what users of 3D printing / additive manufacturing systems considered the biggest hindrances to integrating additive manufacturing into their businesses.
The group did not supply a lot of information on the respondents, so we don’t know if this group is predominantly makers, engineers or both, but some of the poll results are interesting.
Of those who responded, 24% said they work in industrial manufacturing, 21% work in aerospace, 12% work in automotive, 6% work in electronics and consumer goods, 6% work in medical and dental, 6% work in consumer goods and apparel, 3% work in energy, oil and gas and chemical and pharmaceutical each, and 15% work in “other,” whatever that is.
Of these respondents, 32% said the biggest obstacle to integrating additive manufacturing into their businesses was the supply and cost of material and 32% said the biggest obstacle was machine capabilities. 23% listed “other” as an obstacle.
When asked what they are using additive for, 34% of the respondents said prototyping only, 25% said they were still doing research, 22% said a small amount of end use production, and 19% said a high volume of end use production.
A final question was asked on what materials the respondents planned to use in additive manufacturing. More than half, 55%, said metals, with 35% choosing plastics, and 3% choosing ceramics.
It’s not much of a surprise that users feel materials and machine capabilities are not closer to what they would like; such views have been expressed for a couple of years. The use of metals has been coming on strong over the past few years, as this poll bears out.
Sources: 3D printing & Additive Manufacturing Global Summit, London Business Conferences
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