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3D Printing: Benefits, trends, enterprise applications
- Originally Published:
- Jul 2014
Advances have been made over the past two decades to bring to the public an entirely new kind of standard: 3D printing.
3D printing is a technology whereby objects can be designed using software and then created using a layering technique that harnesses processes such as fused deposition modeling (FDM) and fused filament fabrication (FFF). These objects can be models or prototypes (a vase, for instance) or fully functional items, such as adjustable wrenches or machine parts. 3D printing can use various materials, such as plastics, waxes, ceramic, and metal, and consumer and business-level 3D printers are available. Prominent manufacturers include Makerbot, Stratasys, and 3DSystems. Users can also employ commercial services to handle the process—or even build a 3D printer via a do-it-yourself (DIY) kit. The popularity of 3D printing has skyrocketed, and it has been projected to become a $16 billion global industry by 2018.
As a result of the increasing popularity, Tech Pro Research conducted a global online survey in June 2014 to see how companies are using or evaluating 3D printing. Specifically, the survey examined the following issues from the 624 respondents:
- Who is using 3D printing (company size, industry type, departments, and respondent roles)
- What benefits they have found or seek to find
- Why businesses may have opted against 3D printing and what might change their minds
- The 3D printers/printing technology that are in use or are being evaluated
- The budgets that are being allocated
- Possible legal/moral/ethical concerns
- What respondents expect to see in their industries as a result of this new trend (will it be disruptive and if so, how?)
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