At the start of each new year, we take a look at the 3D printing trends we can see for that year. Of course, we would like to continue this tradition in 2022.
Relevance of data in AM
3D printing experts see a major trend for 2022 in the question of the increasing relevance of data in the additive manufacturing process. After all, the ability to make our production “intelligent” depends on our ability to collect the relevant data. So manufacturing really only becomes “smart” with our ability to analyze the data to derive actionable insights from it.
“We believe in a world where the next part we print is always a better version of the previous part,” said an anonymous 3D printing user some time ago. This requires a software platform with the capability to interface with all systems and datasets in the production environment and beyond.
In the field of medical 3D printing, the particular challenge is also to deal with patient data in such a way that any concerns regarding data protection and data security are taken into account as best as possible. One solution is to work with anonymized data. However, a legal framework must be found for this, especially since this data does not belong to the patients, but usually to hospitals and manufacturers of medical devices.
Materials: trend towards ceramics and recycled plastics
Exciting developments can also be expected in the field of materials in 2022.
On the one hand, due to the sustainability debate, there is a trend towards renewable materials. On the other hand, we are seeing significant growth in 3D printable ceramics, as well as plastic-ceramic composites.
The ceramics market is forecast to be worth US$400 million (about €354.6 million in today’s equivalent) by 2032, which would be seven times what it was at the end of 2021. On the one hand, this has to do with the fact that the number of manufacturers entering this niche is constantly increasing. On the other hand, this also applies to the number of chemists who are interested in ceramics and are constantly developing special materials.
In the polymer market, more and more manufacturers are trying to constantly improve the recyclability rate of their powders. In addition, there is a trend towards developing new plastics that can be easily recycled.
Keep up to date with the latest developments in the world of additive manufacturing with our 3D printing blog.