Markforged, Watertown, Massachusetts, USA, has announced the findings of its inaugural annual report, ‘COVID-19 Impact on Supply Chains: Global Additive Manufacturing Industry Report’. It details how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacted manufacturers globally, and how Additive Manufacturing has helped to maintain business continuity and growth amid the global disruption.
According to the report, the modern manufacturer – those who adopt digital manufacturing solutions such as AM – was the most resilient, said to be operating ‘business as usual’, while other manufacturers scaled production back.
Key findings featured in the report include:
- Manufacturers with an industrial AM machine saved time and money during the pandemic, with 68% indicating that the technology either saved the business ‘some time’ or a ‘significant amount of time’. Nearly 60% of respondents stated that Additive Manufacturing has either saved them ‘some money’ or ‘a a significant amount of money’. These time and cost savings not only alleviate immediate, time-sensitive issues for manufacturers but also result in long-term business value through increased productivity and efficiency.
- Manufacturers that used AM have stayed agile and operational during the pandemic—and found ways to give back. Nearly half (45%) of respondents reported that they are operating ‘business as usual’, and nearly a quarter (24%) have begun producing new products. Survey respondents also reported changing production to personal protective equipment (PPE). More than 539 Markforged customers used their AM machines to produce PPE during COVID-19, resulting in more than 5,460 additively manufactured parts.
- The pandemic may be a tipping point in manufacturing technology adoption. Many industries are experiencing a forced digital transformation due to pandemic conditions, and manufacturing, AM included, is no exception. After seeing the potential of AM over the last several months, 28% of respondents said they are now using Additive Manufacturing more compared to pre-pandemic. Furthermore, 39% plan to make future investments in digital manufacturing technologies.
“In an unpredictable world, it’s imperative for organisations to adapt technologies that enable them to remain resilient and flexible ahead of the next disruption,” stated Shai Terem, CEO and president, Markforged. “Our research confirms that even during an incredibly uncertain year for manufacturers, those that adopted the Digital Forge have persevered. We’re committed to constantly innovating our industrial 3D printers and software solutions to ensure our customers maintain agility and a competitive advantage, even in the most challenging of times.”
The survey was conducted during Q3 2020 (July–September) with data analysis and insight extrapolation conducted in Q4 2020 (October–December). The results of the study are based on responses from more than 600 manufacturing and technology organisations, which included both Markforged’s customers and otherwise.
The full report is available via the company website.