A report by PwC, Agoria and Sirris into Belgium’s AM ecosystem
AM market worth in 2018
of total is made up by metal AM
Belgian manufacturing companies expect high growth rate in next 3 years
name “Freedom of design” as TOP driver for AM
Thirty years since the birth of AM, also known as 3D printing on an industrial scale, companies around the world are finally beginning to believe (and invest) in it.
Given its expected positive impact on a wide range of activities in different sectors - greater customisation ability, better fit for functionality by designing parts for specific uses, reduction of number of components and benefits to the supply chain with the introduction of a digital rather than physical inventory -, we recommend that all manufacturing companies prepare their business to grasp the opportunities of AM.
Belgium has been a leading pioneer with regards to the evolution of AM with a number of early players originating in the country. As a result, we can now boast expansive know-how and expertise. While the Belgian AM ecosystem strongly believes in the technology’s potential, expecting both revenues and jobs linked to AM to grow substantially over the next three years, efforts are required if we’re to make the transition from 3D printing for (smaller) prototyping towards more industrial applications of AM for larger series of complex end products.
Survey results show that 50% of Belgian companies active in AM expect a high (>10%) growth rate in terms of revenues in the next three years, leading to an important increase in jobs linked directly to AM.
The amount of know-how present in Belgium today, thanks to historical players in the country, is huge and must seep through to the industry
AM unlocks new ways to enhance products, increase customer responsiveness and improve internal operations.
Many decision makers in the Manufacturing industry still don’t yet fully understand the opportunities or added value of AM (such as customisation): when they’re confronted with a challenge, they don’t consider AM in the range of possible solutions.
As the technology isn’t completely mature, companies prefer to take a rather passive approach, waiting for the technology to offer the same guarantees and trust as traditional manufacturing technologies before they take the leap.
It’s essential for companies to trust in AM technologies’ ability to deliver consistent and perfectly reliable high-quality products. This is especially important for industries subject to very specific requirements, such as Aerospace and Automotive, where minor failures could have drastic consequences.
The cost of AM materials and printers remains relatively high (especially for metal printing) which is sometimes regarded as a threat for potential users.
The general perception is that it’s hard to be cost efficient with AM. Companies also often find it difficult to estimate the potential return on investment (ROI) or assess the complete business case for AM adoption.