3D Printing Trends for 2020 (and a Quick Look Back at 2019)

Additive Manufacturing (both the technology and the media brand) advanced and matured in 2019. A quick recap of 2019, plus predictions for 3D printing in 2020. 


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Aetrex 3D printed insoles

One trend expected to grow in 2020? Increased AM adoption for consumer goods, like these custom 3D printed shoe insoles

Additive manufacturing (AM) advanced and matured in 2019. We saw more complex applications in the medical space, larger scales in aerospace, and stronger forays into automotive. More OEMs adopted additive or expanded adoption, and in some cases became deeply invested in its success. Material options continued to grow. The largest trade show in AM got even bigger

As a brand, Additive Manufacturing Media also advanced. We redesigned our e-newsletter and enhanced this website. In addition to our regular reporting here and in print, we also launched multimedia content collections (like this deep dive into the additively made parts in the GE9X engine), a brand new 101 series, and The Cool Parts Show, our video series for highlighting AM’s capabilities through cool and unusual parts. 

What will 2020 hold? Heather Caliendo, senior editor at sister publication Plastics Technology, put that question to four additive manufacturing suppliers: Carbon, Essentium, EOS and HP. While technically couched in the context of plastic AM, most of the predictions apply across material lines:​​​​​

  1. Increased use of AM at industrial scales, as hardware, software and material providers come together to remove historic barriers. 
  2. A shift toward automation, specifically in the design phase through increased use of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
  3. Closer collaboration between conventional and additive technologies — for instance, more injection molders adopting 3D printing as a complement to their existing processes rather than a replacement.
  4. Expanding end markets, in particular healthcare, consumer goods and automotive.
  5. An increased push toward a circular economy, with additive manufacturers and suppliers seeking more sustainable materials and business practices. 

For the full report with commentary from suppliers, see the article on PTOnline.com.