Identifying current and future application areas, existing industrial value chains and missing competences in the EU, in the area of additive manufacturing (3D Printing)
Conducted on behalf of the European Commission, this study on 3D-Printing (or Additive Manufacturing) aimed at:
- Identifying current, emerging and future application areas in the field of 3D-Printing;
- Identifying and positioning key European players in the field;
- Reconstructing 3D-Printing value chains by taking a regional perspective;
- Identifying existing and missing competences with regard to applications with a promising potential
- Identifying cross-regional and cross-value chain collaboration opportunities to overcome both current and upcoming barriers to 3D-Printing deployment to the industry.
The study mobilized in that respect a number of sources in order to provide an overview of 3D-Printing applications – with a focus on close-to-market application areas – as well as a positioning of Europe in the area of 3D-Printing/Additive Manufacturing. These included in the first place:
A thorough and rationalized review of the Additive Manufacturing and 3D-Printing literature
- Desk Research
- Quantitative analyses including: a patent data analysis; an analysis of FP-funded projects; a bibliometric analysis; the resulting Sectors-Applications Matrix.
- In-depth value chain analyses in the form of case studies based on desk research and semi-structured interviews.
The results of the study pointed to key challenges such as missing and under-developed capabilities (in the areas of high-end metal powders and high isostatic pressing for instance) as well as main barriers to the deployment of Additive Manufacturing ranging from technical knowledge and AM skills to the lack of demonstration support. Policy implications were derived as to support the development of European strengths in the area and overcome the current and upcoming challenges for 3D-Printing to reach its full potential. The study is available at http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8937 and was relayed by both generalist and specialized press.
This strategic study was commissioned by EASME and prepared for the European Commission, Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (Directorate F – Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing, Unit F3 – KETs, Digital Manufacturing & Interoperability). The project was led by IDEA Consult in partnership with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Austrian Institute of Technology and CECIMO.