In 2020, the 3D printing market was valued at $ 12.6 billion and is expected to grow, according to market and consumer data experts Statista. While there may not have been an apocalyptic takeover of 3D printers, as predicted five years ago, 3D printing still seems to be making waves, with specialists like Protolabs offering a variety of different 3D printing services.
3D printing adds another dimension to television
The world of entertainment, food, and medicine has also adopted technology more and more and is hungry for the improved sustainability, efficiency, and innovation that it still promises. This month, alongside the global intrigue with Netflix’s fictional Squid Game series, in which contestants compete in a survival contest to save themselves from financial ruin, the demand for Squid Game masks came along. This trend has lit up the world of 3D printing with the creation of 3D printed masks and other 3D printed Squid game designs that you can buy and make yourself if you have a 3D printer.
Similarly, we recently saw the creation of a fully 3D printed life-size Iron Man costume designed by British data engineer Adam Willoughby. The Marvel costume has its own JARVIS system of sounds and lights and is made of biodegradable plastic with its own wireless network that allows different parts of the costume to communicate with each other.
Movements in Medicine
3D printing is also making further progress in medicine. The sector accounts for 15% of total 3D printing sales, making it the third largest market for 3D printing. Already used on a large scale in hearing aid and dental care manufacture, there have also been significant developments in 3D printed organ transplant research.
Studies on the use of 3D printing in organ transplants have been around for some time. As early as the 1990s, medical professionals were working on biomaterials that could be used by 3D printing, and in 1999 the recipient’s cells were successfully transplanted into the first human organ (a bladder).
Today we see even greater advances in Israeli researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology announcing a breakthrough in 3D printing technology to create functional blood vessels, large and small. The size of the vessels is crucial for the successful transport of oxygen and other nutrients to all organs and tissues.
In space, other scientists have been looking for other ways to improve the success of organ transplants. For example, printing living tissue in space, as demonstrated by NASA astronaut and former US military doctor Andrew Morgan. Additionally, US $ 1.2 million was raised earlier this year in a new start-up to develop a new bio-printing technology that Brinter hopes will make bio-printing more accessible to pharmaceutical companies and other medical institutions.
The development of 3D printing in manufacturing
But despite the impressive advances in entertainment and medicine, the advancement of 3D printing in manufacturing is perhaps the most significant but underrated success. The benefits of reducing investments in expensive tools used in traditional manufacturing are well known.
Factories can increase capacity and flexibility for a demanding market, there are greater opportunities to personalize products, and the use of fewer resources and more localized production means improved sustainability.
According to “3D Printing: The Next Revolution in Industrial Manufacturing” – a research report by UPS and the Consumer Technology Association, two-thirds of manufacturers are already using 3D printing in their production processes and a quarter plan to introduce it in the future. The main reasons for acceptance are in the areas of prototyping, product development and innovation. Automotive and consumer electronics make up a significant portion of 3D printing sales, and some smartphone manufacturers are gradually using 3D printing to make components.
Along with other Industry 4.0 technologies like IoT, automation, machine learning and connectivity, 3D printing is also moving at a pace, as was shown this month when global additive manufacturing systems provider, Optomec, launched a $ 1 AM system Million US dollars for production repair of aircraft turbine components for one of its customers. As reported in TCT magazine, the machine combines two turbine repair processes that are usually done manually to reduce costs and improve quality.
3D printing is becoming increasingly popular not only in entertainment, medicine, and manufacturing, but also in the arts, food, and construction industries. Its success will continue in parallel with developments in Industry 4.0, and with advances in production speed, the ability to manufacture products on a much larger scale is expected. The future use of the technology with more diverse materials is likely to open up opportunities for other sectors and contribute to their further growth.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editors or management of EconoTimes.