The year 2020 will be remembered for many things: a global pandemic that disrupted global supply chains, digital-based jobs shifting from offices to Work From Home (WFH), shortages in needed medical equipment, not to mention disrupted economies, educational institutions, travel, and so on.
So many systems have been upended. A bright spot, however, is the additive manufacturing industry. Nimble and flexible, makers of all kinds found ways to collaborate, share, and fill in the gaps that showed up from the disruptions. Hundreds of thousands of makers helped 3D print face shields. Hundreds collaborated on new designs of ventilators. Additive vendors produced nasal swabs by the millions.
The story of the additive industry for 2020 is Innovation in a Crisis, and the additive manufacturing industry met the challenge. So many makers volunteered their time, working from home, collaborating over Zoom, to make needed medical personal protection equipment or design easy-toassemble ventilators. So many designers and engineers reworked parts so that they could be made closer to the end user, filling in the gaps opened up by the global pandemic shutting down businesses in China as workers quarantined.
This year, in addition to updating the additive systems vendors’ products, we cover the stories of problem solving during the crisis. The additive community responded quickly and decisively. It is not an exaggeration to say that without these designers, engineers, and makers, the effects of the pandemic would have been worse.
While solving problems fast, this industry also put itself in the best light possible. Executives and other potential users see the industry differently now, and are taking a closer look at how additive technology can aid their design and production efforts.
We hope you enjoy the inspiring stories as well as get up to speed on the latest products from the additive industry.
Leslie Langnau | Managing Editor
On Twitter @ DW_3Dprinting