Trends 2023

The pandemic has accelerated trends that were already strongly underway: automation, and digitization, while also introducing more urgency toward some other ones—such as supply chain resiliency, on-demand short batch production, and re-localization—that were also in the works. If 2020 brought on new challenges and disruption, in 2021 AM companies began to address them. The year 2022 showed the first results of these efforts but also highlighted the challenges that many companies are facing in addressing a very complicated transition, with an increasingly unstable geopolitical global situation on the horizon. In 2023 many companies will have to “adapt or die”, while some may also die as they try to adapt.

AM companies are used to dealing with challenges. The global COVID pandemic, a dramatic crisis that crippled and destroyed entire businesses (not to speak of the terrible human toll) led to increasingly tense global relations with a very negative backlash on international business as well as many asymmetric market challenges. By enabling manufacturers to increase their flexibility, AM can play a role in stabilizing economic growth even in a world that is transitioning from full globalization to reshoring. And by enabling more automated production AM can help European and American economies address the shortages of qualified laborers. In this month’s AM Focus on AM Trends 2023, we will show how AM has proven it is capable of offering manufacturers a resilient solution to dealing with the challenges ahead rather than be a victim of their effects.

With all that said, the biggest challenge to most manufacturers is not lack of demand but supply chain disruption, either for raw materials or components. AM can help here by reducing material consumption and by supporting on-demand, local manufacturing of certain parts. However, many challenges still exist before AM is truly able to offer a production alternative for a sufficiently large number of applications. These range from material cost to the technology’s reliability and limited productivity. They will need to be addressed in 2023.

Scroll down for the latest AM Trends 2022 news [updating].

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