The Danish AM Hub, Copenhagen, Denmark, initiated by The Danish Industry Foundation, has published its first annual report on the ways in which Danish manufacturing companies are using Additive Manufacturing, and concluded that 25% of all Danish manufacturing companies are using the technology. The report was compiled through the screening of 314 Danish manufacturing companies by the University of Southern Denmark.
The report states that Additive Manufacturing is usually introduced through innovation and development programmes, rather than in response to a need for efficiency improvements. The report also states that those companies which use AM the most and across multiple areas of operation and business achieve the highest degree of innovation.
Mads Kjøller Damkjær, CEO of The Danish AM Hub, stated, “The companies benefiting most from the technology and cultivating most innovation are those who have invested in 3D printers themselves combined with purchasing services through suppliers. At the same time, they typically utilise AM in several different areas, e.g. both product development, support tools for production machines, and end-user products. The broad application in several areas creates innovation and can potentially improve the competitiveness of the companies.”
The responses of companies screened reportedly show that Additive Manufacturing is still primarily used in the prototyping and product development stage in Danish manufacturing. Second to this usage area was the production of support tools such as jigs, fixtures and other equipment for production machinery by AM, with the production of end-use products representing the lowest usage.
The AM Hub also observed that the introduction of Additive Manufacturing within a company must often be ‘from the bottom up’ – where an employee rather than a member of the management has gained knowledge of the technology and introduces it to their seniors. However, it was found that companies must begin to see the increasing ways in which the technology can be implemented more strategically, with the emphasis on creating new business models.
“In the Danish AM Hub we strive to enhance the way the technology is approached, so that it is also considered on a strategic level looking the entire value chain says,” added Damkjær. While this is not easy for any company, he added that it can make a crucial difference to competitiveness. 44% of companies already using AM were said to have indicated that the technology has a direct influence on the business approach and model.
The full-length Danish AM Report 2019 can be downloaded from the organisation’s website in Danish, with the full conclusion also provided in English.