3D printing, a growing technology

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Reichelt elektronik, online distributor of electronics and IT technologies, presented a research on the 3D printing use in the Italian industrial scenario, carried out in collaboration with the OnePoll research institute. The survey was conducted on a sample of 250 decision makers, but also employees and managers from the world of design, development and technology. The main companies responding to the survey operate in sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, pharmaceuticals, energy, IT and ICT. 80% of the companies participating in the survey said they use 3D printing in production. Among the most common applications, approximately 77% of the respondents said they used the 3D printing mainly for the development of prototypes. This technology is also used for small series production (67%), spare parts (61%) and the creation of special products such as prostheses and components (57%). As for the materials, about 82% of the respondents said they mainly use plastic filaments such as ABD, PLA or PETG. Composite materials are also very popular, used by more than 57% of the companies. Although more expensive, the use of metals for 3D printing is a choice of almost 30% of the Italian industries. Considering instead the main difficulties that the companies encounter in the use of 3D printing, 30% explained that this technology requires too long times and another difficulty is that the maintenance and the filaments are expensive.
On the other hand, with regard to the investments, more than 41% of the companies plan to invest more in 3D printing and to expand the use of this technology within their organization. In addition, around 50% said they planned to invest more in 3D printing as a direct consequence of the Coronavirus crisis. Many see this opportunity as a way to compensate for what they have lost by leveraging on the savings – in terms of money – and on the possibility of expanding their offer. In general, almost 45% of the respondents consider the internal production an effective way to overcome delays in the supply chain or shortages of the supplies. Finally, according to what emerged from the research on the positive effects generated by the 3D printing, for 60% there is a significant increase in terms of productivity, followed by 58% of the companies according to which advantages lie in the possibility of expanding the product range, developing new business areas (55%) and saving (51%).