Report brings together views and opinions from within Additive Manufacturing industry
April 20, 2020
A report, undertaken by Dr Jennifer Johns, Reader in International Business at the University of Bristol’s Department of Management, UK, has sought to collate and interrogate the opinions of those within the Additive Manufacturing industry to address a number of key questions surrounding the state of the technology, its position in the manufacturing sector today and how that could change in the future.
Over recent years there has been consistent media and industry interest in Additive Manufacturing, fuelled by reports of high growth rates and publicity around exciting new applications, states Johns in her introduction. There are two concurrent stories to tell about AM, she adds, first the development of the AM sector itself – a high-technology industry with its own developmental trajectory, needs and aspirations. Second, the broader context in which AM is situated.
The research for the study was conducted between September 2017 and July 2019, with a total fifty-three interviews undertaken across three case study countries, the US, UK and Germany. Four questions were asked:
- What are the constituent parts of the AM industry and how do those parts fit together and interact? – This allows for the charting of the AM global value chain.
- To what degree can we observe a shift from prototyping to functional, volume manufacturing? – This addresses the application of AM in manufacturing in general and considers a range of application types.
- What are the business models underpinning the use of AM? – This interrogates some of the assumptions made about what conditions AM is applicable and the degree to which it makes business sense to be applied and takes into account some of the concerns around unrealistic promotional applications.
- To what degree is the use of AM changing the geographies of production? – Primarily focused on international supply chains, the question engages with the rhetoric around AM leading to reshoring of manufacturing back to Western Europe and North America.
The initial findings of the report were presented at the AMUG 2019 conference in Chicago, Illinois, USA, with the author reporting a positive response from the audience. Some of the comments and feedback are said to have been integrated into the final report. The report was also covered, in-depth, in the Spring 2020 issue of Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine (Vol. 6 No. 1).
The full report by Dr Jennifer Johns is available to read and download free of charge via Issuu.