This is a guest post in our series looking at the future of 3D Printing. To celebrate 5 years of reporting on the 3D printing industry, we’ve invited industry leaders and 3D printing experts to give us their perspective and predictions for the next 5 years and insight into trends in additive manufacturing.
René Gurka is the CEO and co-founder of BigRep. Headquartered in Berlin-Kreuzberg, with offices in Brooklyn and Singapore, he has been actively involved in the future of additive manufacturing together with his international interdisciplinary team for the last three years.
3D Printing: The Next Five Years – Industrial 3D Manufacturing is the Ultimate Goal
If you want to look at the future of 3D printing, it is worthwhile looking back in time; additive manufacturing has been around for about 30 years. But only in the past five years has it gained this big recognition. The promise was: everyone can print objects at home with a 3D printer and become a designer. “We wanted people to 3D print anything” said 3D industry pioneer Bre Pettis in 2013. But these high expectations have not been fully realized. Except for a few talented individuals, home use of 3D printers has not hit the mainstream. The reason is simple: most of us lack the necessary design and construction understanding to be able to use the devices productively, or the skills to create the necessary digital data at home.
Traditional Production will be Disrupted
The question arises that if this vision was wrong, what is the realistic development in next five years in 3D printing? For BigRep, the answer is clear: the focus will shift from individual users to industrial production. And by this I do not mean the production of prototypes, because this is already firmly established, especially with large manufacturers. The trend is rather towards automated additive production. 3D printing will become an integral part of industrial production and the traditional production process will change disruptively. This is made possible by the close interaction between software and cloud services, materials and robotics in additive manufacturing (AM). Similar to 3D printing, these have undergone an enormous development in recent years.
Keep reading…. (on 3dprintingindustry.com)