WASHINGTON, -  Today, PwC in conjunction with The Manufacturing Institute, released an updated report - 3D Printing comes of age in US industrial manufacturing. Two years ago, we published results from its first “Disruptive Manufacturing Innovations Survey” in which they sought to take a snapshot of how—and to what extent—US manufacturers were adopting 3DP into their operations and how they expected the technology to play out in the future. In this report, they share findings from a second survey posing the same questions to see what’s changed over two years.

According to the new survey, it finds some interesting shifts in how 3D printing is being applied by manufacturers from just two years ago. These include:

More making, less tinkering While roughly the same percentage of US manufacturers are currently adopting 3DP in some way (roughly two-thirds) a higher percentage (51%) are using it for prototyping and final-products than two years ago (35%); meanwhile, fewer are simply “experimenting” to determine how they may use the technology (17% vs 29% two years earlier).

Expectations rise for 3D printing for high-volume production in the future More manufacturers (52%) expect 3D printing to be used for high-volume production in the next 3-5 years, compared to two years ago (38%). Meanwhile, those expecting 3D printing to be used for low-volume, specialized products in the next 3-5 years slipped slightly to 67% from 74% two years ago.

3D printing seen to disrupt supply chain, threaten intellectual property Manufacturers are equally split on what will be 3DP’s most disruptive effect, with 22% saying it will be in restructuring supply chains, and another 22% that it will be threats to intellectual property, and 18% believe that it will be changed relationships with customers. Two years ago, the stand-alone, number-one concern was supply chain disruption.

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