Jul 17 2019

German industry trusts in 3D printing

The furniture industry has long since discovered 3D printing. This is because digital printing plays an important role in the design of furniture and textiles tailored to personal preferences. It is thus no wonder that interzum 2019, which took place in Cologne from 21 to 24 May, even dedicated a special area with the name "Edutainment" to this pioneering technology.

From the first chair design conceived of by artificial intelligence through timeless kitchen handles to digital texture printing on surfaces – a variety of design concepts can be realised with the help of 3D printing. The biggest advantage of this technology is its speed. This is because, with digital printing, furniture designers and manufacturers can immensely accelerate both prototype development and the general development process.

Digital printing saves time and lowers costs.

Depending on the complexity of the project, the time in which a particular part is designed and manufactured can be reduced to a few days, or even hours. However, digital printing processes save not only time, but also reduce costs, because they dispense with the printing form and make pattern changes possible at full printing speed. Another major benefit of 3D printing is that small batches or one-off pieces can also be produced cost-effectively.

However, not only the furniture industry trusts in digital printing. Many models, replacement parts and tools also already come from the 3D printer in many other German industrial companies. Already every third company (32 percent) is using this technology, according to a recent survey of the digital association Bitkom. In the previous year this figure was only 28 percent, and even only 20 percent in 2016.

3D printing has long been viewed as key technology

According to Bitkom, 3D printing has long been seen as key technology for the majority of the industry: 78 percent of those companies surveyed believe that 3D printing will profoundly transform business models and value creation chains. That is eight percent more than in the previous year. Only seven percent of the companies surveyed see no disruptive potential whatsoever.

Additional findings of the survey: 42 percent of the industrial companies that use 3D printing use this technology for the manufacture of samples, casting moulds or tools. 35 percent manufacture replacement parts in this way. 30 percent produce models with this process.

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