Charles R. Goulding and Preeti Sulibhavi have some thoughts about what trends we might see in the world of 3D printing in 2024.
Happy 2024. It’s the start of a new year and time for us to make resolutions with the best of intentions that we promise to keep. In this new year, we have several predictions related to 3D printing industry trends that we would like to share.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
This is a breakthrough legislation, promoting substantial investments in alternative energy such as solar and geothermal. It is also prompting significant investments in energy efficiency, particularly in lighting and HVAC.
India’s Powerful Economy
India’s robust rate of economic growth and foreign investment is driving its economy. Rated as the world’s fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity (PPP).
According to projections by S&P Global and Morgan Stanley, India is poised to overtake Japan and Germany to become the world’s third-largest economy. These predictions are based on the forecast that India’s annual nominal gross domestic product growth will average 6.3% up to 2030.
“India has the conditions in place for an economic boom fueled by offshoring, investment in manufacturing, the energy transition, and the country’s advanced digital infrastructure,” Morgan Stanley analysts led by Ridham Desai and Girish Acchipalia wrote in the report. “These drivers will make [India] the world’s third-largest economy and stock market before the end of the decade.”
We have covered India’s economic growth rate on Fabbaloo. At that time the prediction that it could be the world’s third largest economy by the end of the decade had not been made.
We see India continuing its rise to power in the Indo-Pacific region.
Israel’s War with Hamas
- Palestine’s 100,000 damaged structures and facilities
We hope for the cessation of the War in 2024. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted substantial damage to several establishments and facilities in Gaza, some even beyond repair. We view this unfortunate event as a potential avenue for the 3D printing sector, particularly those specialized in green cement materials, to step in and aid in the reconstruction efforts.
The impending need to restore houses, roads, bridges, and hospitals is indeed a monumental task.
- Refurbishing the defense supply chain
Stratasys is recognized as a leader in 3D printing sector, located in Israel, and has the potential to serve as a pioneer. Stratasys has always maintained awareness of the military risk profile in Israel and counts the Israeli military as one of its major clients. This relationship is speculated to grow during and after the war, in light of the need to replace and repair military equipment such as rockets, drones, tanks and munitions.
Replenishing the Military Supply Chain
The collapse of supply chains during the Coronavirus pandemic witnessed by everyone is particularly detrimental for the US Department of Defense (DoD). The requirement to update our weapons systems and equipment is not fresh news. However, the need to reinforce military supply chains has become more crucial than ever. The upcoming year is poised to witness an increase in 3D printing applications used by our armed forces, whether for equipment repair and maintenance out in the field, or for crafting top-quality ammunition for battle, 3D printing technology is predicted to become a crucial component of military-grade equipment.
Embedded Electronics as a High Growth Area
We expect to see an increased use of 3D printing for embedded electronics and Nano Dimension is the leading company we follow.
By textbook definition, Embedded Electronics can be defined as a system that “Integrates Hardware circuitry with software programming techniques to provide real-time solutions.”
Telecommunications systems employ numerous embedded systems from telephone switches for the network to cell phones for the end user.
From age-old pocket calculators to advanced automobile and security devices, the applications of embedded systems continue to show strong progress and will do so in the upcoming year.
MedTech and Pharma will Advance Even Further
We see MedTech and pharma as the new age of manufacturing in the US. Whether it is telemedicine, bioprinting, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI), cyber-securing healthcare data, creating customized pharmaceuticals, or creating comfortable yet fashionable wearables, the 3D printing industry will have even further reach in the coming year.
With brick-and-mortar pharmacies being less relevant and being replaced by online, digital pharmacies that customize and deliver patient medications in prescribed dosage amounts, retail pharmacies that have not shuttered will eventually be point-of-care facilities for minor healthcare visits. This is an opportunity for integrating 3D printers at centralized locations to help with patients’ needs (i.e., adjusting a patient’s “specaids”).
Metal Product Offerings will Respond Positively
In order for 3D printers to be integrated into the defense, automotive and construction industries, metal 3D printing must advance. We see the industry going in this direction in 2024. Particularly, Markforged has created an Atomic Diffusion Additive Manufacturing (ADAM) process for printing metal, unlocking a new era of metal parts production. Revolutionary ADAM technology makes it safer and easier to print metal parts compared to previous metal 3DP methods.
ADAM is an end-to-end process that starts with metal powder and captures it in a plastic binder, which makes it nonflammable, safe to breathe and easy to handle. The part creation process builds on existing carbon fiber reinforced extrusion technology – where micro strands of carbon fiber are bound in plastic. It then forms it into the part shape one layer at a time. After printing you sinter the part in a furnace, burning off the binder and solidifying the powder into the final fully dense metal part. Thermally sintering parts is well-established in the Metal Injection Molding (MIM) industry to create end-use parts for medical, aerospace, and consumer applications. So, this appears to be a logical approach. The applications to various verticals are limitless.
3D printed metal parts using ADAM technology [Source: Mark3D]
The Research & Development Tax Credit
The now permanent Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit is available for companies developing new or improved products, processes and/or software.
3D printing can help boost a company’s R&D Tax Credits. Wages for technical employees creating, testing and revising 3D printed prototypes can be included as a percentage of eligible time spent for the R&D Tax Credit. Similarly, when used as a method of improving a process, time spent integrating 3D printing hardware and software counts as an eligible activity. Lastly, when used for modeling and preproduction, the costs of filaments consumed during the development process may also be recovered.
Whether it is used for creating and testing prototypes or for final production, 3D printing is a great indicator that R&D Credit eligible activities are taking place. Companies implementing this technology at any point should consider taking advantage of R&D Tax Credits.
As tradition goes, we are putting the above applications for 3D printing on our New Year’s resolution list of things to look out for in 2024. The trends listed above are our best guess for the future and we can’t wait to see how the 3D printing industry helps these markets innovate further in the coming year.