Survey of 700 Professionals Reveals Future Forecasts for AM/3D Printing

About the survey

In a recent survey conducted by SMS Research Advisors seven hundred qualified respondents answered questions on a variety of topics relating to the additive manufacturing industry. Here at SPI Lasers we found the results interesting and bring a summary to you as a back-up to all the previous content we have published about additive manufacturing.

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Top five industries for additive manufacturing

The top five industries utilising additive manufacturing emerging from the survey were:

  • Consumer products – 26% – Extensively used for the creation of consumer products, AM is use to make toys, electrical equipment, sports goods and many other products
  • Medical – 15% – All manner of medical items are produced with AM, such as prosthetic limbs, dental parts and nano technology uses too, etc.
  • Aerospace – 11% – A sector which utilises AM for moulds, large parts creation, turbine systems, fuel blades and more, etc.
  • Automotive – 8% – AM is extensively involved in the automotive industry in the vehicle manufacturing process as well as for making parts such as exhausts, bumpers, pumps, valves, etc.
  • Energy – 6% – AM is used widely for parts, meter casing, tooling and more, etc.

The above represent 66% of the total, which equate to two thirds of the total.

Main benefits of additive manufacturing

The four highest ranking benefits of additive manufacturing as identified from the survey were:

  • Create complex designs (79%) – AM enables complex designs to be created, this is particularly beneficial in the jewellery industry
  • Reductions in lead time (76%) – The lead time in production and prototyping is literally slashed, frequently by 80% compared to traditional methods
  • Increased process efficiency (42%) – AM is much more efficient than traditional techniques and saves considerable time and
  • Higher quality parts (20%) – AM actually creates stronger parts then there traditional counterparts
3D printed parts are amongst the main benefits of adopting an additive manufacturing approach

3D printed parts are amongst the main benefits of adopting an additive manufacturing approach

Reasons to outsource additive manufacturing

Reasons given in the survey to outsource manufacturing were:

  • Access to up to date advanced equipment (73%) – Having access to modern advanced equipment is a major driver
  • Lower investment, less risk (60%) – Outsourcing costs more but requires less investment in machinery and has less risk
  • Produce parts which can’t be made in-house (53%) – Outsourcing enables parts to be produced which couldn’t be made in-house and
  • Access to Additive manufacturing expertise (47%) – By outsourcing there is access to external AM expertise
Multi kW System (2kW – 4kW)

redPOWER multikw system

Having access to the latest and best equipment such as SPI’s redPOWER ranger of fiber lasers is a major reason for outsourcing additive manufacturing.

To read the report yourself visit this link –

Contacting SPI Lasers

Why not give us a call and discuss your requirements for additive manufacturing? We have  extensive knowledge of this application area as well as an ever evolving suite of products, perfect for achieving excellent Additive Manufacturing results.  


Tel: +44 (0)1489 779 696



Image Credits: Carl Manz and Seth Levanen


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