In 2021, we will enter the fourth decade of 3D Printing, which will also be a decade of fundamental changes. The COVID-19 crisis has had a huge impact on various industries and forced us to think about how to break the boundaries of innovation in a whole new way. The impact of 3D Printing in 2021 is mainly reflected in the following three trends: rethinking manufacturing; not only can customize products, but also customize 3D printing equipment; and quickly create new solutions. Click to watch the video → The enlightenment given by COVID-19 is that we need to start anew on the way forward and pay more attention to customization and rapid creation of solutions. 2020 is not the first time in history that there is an opportunity for major changes. When the Internet bubble burst, Apple introduced the iPod. Airbnb was brought to life during the 2008 financial crisis, while Alibaba launched its online marketplace in 2003 when the SARS epidemic was at its worst. “In this rapidly changing era, we must take the courage to take greater steps and abandon things that are not future-oriented. We need to use the core value of additive manufacturing and other technologies to think and do things in new ways in order to produce far-reaching significance. Impact.” said Fried Vancraen, CEO and founder of Materialise. We believe that additive manufacturing is of great significance in giving people more choices. In the COVID-19 crisis, additive manufacturing has stepped forward to provide meaningful solutions to new challenges. But so far, these solutions have not really played out the advantages of this technology. The true value of additive manufacturing lies in the ability to do things that other manufacturing methods cannot. Additive manufacturing can be customized, using a new design to integrate multiple parts, and it can also reduce material waste. This means it can ensure that the solution is socially inclusive and has sustainability at its core. For our industry, the key to greater influence is to continue to find meaningful applications that can make full use of these characteristics, so that more people understand the value of additive manufacturing. Our medical engineers and doctors designed a 3D printed connector to connect standardized medical equipment together to form the Materialise non-invasive PEEP mask. In the short term, we will still be deep in the COVID crisis, but we can foresee that the 3D printing trend in 2021 will allow us to see the more powerful and flexible side of this technology, which will bring more possibilities to the value chain. This value chain starts with the use of digital means to capture the key data and needs of customers, and at the end of the value chain, 3D printing turns it into a product. Let us, like Apple, Airbnb and Alibaba, rethink this value chain. As Fried said: “Companies realize that they need to do things in different ways, and the application of additive manufacturing can make them create extraordinary. The impact of additive manufacturing is not limited to the products it can manufacture, but also the products it brings. Endless possibilities.”

  • 1. Restarting the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the process of digitalization. At the same time, the climate crisis also makes us urgently need to rethink the status quo of the economy and industrial system. The continuous emergence of these extreme crises has prevented us from moving forward in the past. We need to rethink how various industries operate and how we can find ways to deal with these new challenges. To deal with these threats that affect our existence, what is needed is not incremental innovation. Incremental innovation does not have enough room for revolutionary technologies such as additive manufacturing to have an impact. However, breaking the shackles and rethinking solutions opened the door to radical design concepts and innovative processes, and additive manufacturing was born for this. Airbus recently disclosed plans to accelerate the development of hydrogen-powered commercial jets, skipping the development of hybrid engines altogether. This bold leap means that by 2035, there will be the world’s first zero-emission, carbon-neutral aircraft. Technologies such as additive manufacturing can play an important role in realizing such innovative ideas. The global crisis can stimulate technological innovation more than ever before. This radical innovation atmosphere provides opportunities for additive manufacturing to truly play a role in the field of design and manufacturing. According to Materialise CTO Bart Van der Schueren: “Additive manufacturing frees designers from the shackles and limitations of traditional manufacturing techniques, allowing them to focus on solutions rather than products. Additive manufacturing can create better performance, reduce weight, and Save time and reduce costs. If additive manufacturing only demonstrated its potential in the past, now it has the opportunity to truly realize this vision. “Starting anew does not mean starting from nothing. Restarting provides greater freedom and more opportunities for new technologies to demonstrate their possibilities. The only thing that limits us to lead change is our imagination.
  • 2. Customized process parameters “As we all know, a unique feature of 3D printing is that it significantly reduces the cost of customized products. However, the importance of customizing and optimizing process parameters for engineers and operators is often overlooked.” Materialise Executive Chairman Peter Leys said. Why are custom process parameters so important? In an ideal additive manufacturing environment, doesn’t the operator just need to press the start button, and the device will print out any products according to the attached set of preset parameters? The idea that this standard process parameter is suitable for all applications is wrong, short-sighted, and very uninteresting. First of all, this view is wrong. 3D printing is a flexible technology. If we only deploy a few standard process parameters, regardless of what products are produced, we cannot achieve its full potential. To take full advantage of additive manufacturing, we must adjust the process parameters of the equipment for the specific product. In prototype manufacturing, this demand is not so urgent, because the process parameters adjusted for a specific product can only benefit a small number of products. As additive manufacturing is increasingly used in mass production, optimal process parameters for specific products become more and more important. Secondly, the view that “one process parameter is suitable for all products” is short-sighted, because it completely ignores the fact that customization and localization complement each other. In other words: only local operators can adjust the process parameters according to the actual situation, and 3D printing can be deployed in a distributed manufacturing environment. Under normal circumstances, important parameters can be set centrally, and then engineers from all over the country can adjust more specific auxiliary parameters to meet the needs of local production. Peter Leys, Executive Chairman of Materialise, said: The importance of giving engineers and operators customization and optimization of process parameters is often overlooked. Finally, if the operator cannot use his expertise to customize the process parameters, it will be a boring “one-click start” world. A world with only standardized process parameters is not only boring, but also dangerous. Because in a lack of competition, 3D printing factories will not be able to establish their own competitive advantages through expertise and experience in process parameters. The lack of competition ultimately means the lack of innovation. Therefore, only if operators have more opportunities to customize and optimize process parameters, the value of 3D printing can be more released. 3D printing should become faster, more economical, and more reliable. To achieve this goal, it is very important that 3D printing itself should become more and more customized.
  • 3. Don’t wait for the moment, Materialise’s vice president and general manager of the medical department Brigitte de Vet said: “The COVID-19 has plunged the world into an ongoing crisis. Due to the reliance on a centralized and large-scale production model, both healthcare professionals and ordinary consumers face basic medical care. The shortage of products and daily consumer goods and quality problems. What we thought for granted in the past is no longer applicable, and we need to find new solutions quickly. “As companies invest in technology, digitalization is accelerating. These technologies can help them adapt to the new normal of new supply chains, remote work, and localized solutions. However, when applying new technologies, they need to make choices based on risk, cost, and return on investment (ROI). Additive manufacturing is a digital technology that can provide short-term return on investment, low-cost manufacturing, and low risk. However, cutting into additive manufacturing is usually accompanied by a long learning curve. Some companies began to apply additive manufacturing 10 years ago, and they are in a good position to use technology to complete a greater transformation, but companies that have only recently started to use additive manufacturing cannot afford to spend the same amount of time learning. Consulting services can help companies successfully implement additive manufacturing. Consulting services can help companies successfully implement additive manufacturing. Brigitte continued: “As a result, we have seen the continuous growth of consulting services that help companies apply additive manufacturing. For example, in the medical industry, although people have already understood the value of personalized medicine, they still have a low tolerance for uncertainty. The new solution needs to provide strong evidence to prove its safety and effectiveness, and can provide a high-level treatment plan. By sharing the adaptability of additive manufacturing, analyzing the specialized knowledge of manufacturing technology required for each unique case, Consulting services can minimize the risk of such high investments and speed up the progress of implementation.”

Link to this article:3D printing trends in 2021: a year of radical change

Reprint Statement: If there are no special instructions, all articles on this site are original. Please indicate the source for reprinting.:ODM Wiki,thanks!^^