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Spotlight: 9 major 3D printing industry trends revealed after Formnext 2021

2021-12-14 10:30:34Source of article:EasyMFG

(Source: Additive Manufacturing.media)

After the online exhibition in 2020, formnext takes the physical trade exhibition in 2021 back to the hall of Messe Frankfurt, Germany. The exhibition was held from November 16 to 19, and its scale is reduced compared with that in 2019; However, more than 600 exhibitors from 36 countries participated in the exhibition. According to the organizers of the exhibition mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH, a total of 17859 visitors from 76 countries attended the exhibition on site.

Pictures of people participating in the formnext

Perhaps the most striking thing about formnext this year is the various devices, ideas and trends it represents. From the diversity of exhibitors, it can be seen that in addition to printer manufacturers, it also includes software developers, material suppliers and post-processing equipment. The application products on display also illustrate the continuous spread of 3D printing in various industries; 3D printing now covers all fields, from footwear to realistic dental implants to more powerful rocket engines, and is expected to further expand its scope of influence.

Although the formnext 2021 exhibition has long ended, we can see the development trend of 3D printing industry. Here is a summary for you. I hope it will be helpful to you.

Exhibition scene pictures

1)pandemic promotes the rapid development of the industry

Covid-19 forced the fragile supply chains to become the focus of attention and triggered a new dialogue on production methods and locations. The epidemic is pushing some companies to use 3D printing to support their supply chain. Two years ago, sales may mainly have a dialogue with engineers; Now they are more discussing the use of 3D printing with enterprise executives. 3D printing is not only an efficient method to provide replacement parts for enterprises, but also an effective way to test new products and provide upgrades.

2) Digitization is the driving force behind progress

The machines on display are only half the story at best, although they are crucial. The other half relates to digital capabilities and what these digital capabilities can bring to 3D printing based manufacturing systems. 3D printing is a manufacturing process. It creates parts layer by layer in a digital way. Data acquisition and preparation before printing, digital monitoring and traceability in printing, and the introduction of digital thread processing after printing are all very important fields.

3) Post processing automation makes printing more intelligent

Automation systems for parts cleaning and post-processing have also increased on formnext this year. This provides a repeatable and more reliable way to obtain the final part, which is a necessary condition in 3D printing production. In some cases, automated post-processing not only makes additive manufacturing more productive, but also safer.

At the same time, maintaining traceability through post-processing allows manufacturers to collect data about parts in these steps and provide information for the design and development of new parts. At the same time, it may mean less destructive testing and other human control on the production line, and the production efficiency will be further improved.

4) There will be greater changes in the field of consumer goods

With the development of 3D printing technology, in addition to the great development in aerospace, medical and dental fields, the exhibition gives us the feeling that consumer goods made through 3D printing will directly affect our lives, such as 3D printed Shoes / insoles, glasses, mobile phone cases, industrial products, etc. Although the price of early small batch customization will be slightly expensive, it is believed that with the further breakthrough of technology and materials, the reduction of product cost will produce more and more 3D printing consumer goods.

5)Polymer composites have become the focus of the industry

In the past, printing with polymers containing reinforcing materials was mainly a branch of polymer 3D printers or an interesting possibility, usually short cut carbon fiber reinforced materials for stronger polymer parts. However, at this year's formnext, it is worth noting the emergence of machines specially designed for the production of reinforced polymer composites. For example, fx20 of markforge and prom is 500 of anisprint. 3D printing will become a powerful driving force for composite manufacturing, so that we see it as a separate and broad material field - that is, a third option in addition to polymers and metals.

6) Multi material 3D printing becomes a new choice

3D samples printed with polymer composites

Printing combining different materials in the same product may be the fourth option. Various novel and unusual technologies to complete multi-material printing have emerged on formnext 2021. Some can realize the combination of a variety of metal materials, such as meltio based on directional energy deposition (DED) metal process, and lithoz combined with two different types of metal and ceramic materials. The combination of multiple materials will greatly promote the use of 3D printing and allow more industries to contact and use this technology.

3D samples printed with polymer composites

7) The large size of the machine meets the market demand

An obvious progress at the exhibition is that machines are getting bigger and bigger. Larger construction volume may be the most extensive, consistent and basic demand put forward by users of 3D printing equipment. Large size means efficient production.

Large metal objects printed by 3D printer

8)Higher temperature, more material options

The printable temperature of polymer 3D printing machine is higher. Arburg and markforge mentioned earlier are examples of this. Now 3D printing machines are not only "bigger" but also "hotter". That is, the range of machines is increasing not only in chamber size or stroke, but also in the range of materials they can work effectively. Materials such as PEEK and ULTEM require higher temperature machines.

9) Suppliers are increasingly becoming manufacturers

Although in other manufacturing industries, the participation of equipment suppliers may be degraded to sales and services, in 3D printing, suppliers are increasingly becoming parts manufacturers. In the field of 3D printing, suppliers who actively participate in 3D printing production can further and faster improve their technology by exposing practical problems in production. Similarly, this trend continues to material suppliers. The special needs and challenges of 3D printing have prompted some companies to pursue the direct provision of 3D printing services.

Germany's formnext has developed into the world's largest 3D printing exhibition. At the same time, sub exhibitions have been opened in many regions of the world, including formnext + PM South China Exhibition in Shenzhen, China. At the same time, formnext plans to open a new exhibition - formnext USA in Chicago, the United States in 2025.