What used to be science fiction years ago is becoming a reality today; the additive manufacturing industry (known as 3D printing) witnessed aggressive growth across the globe with millions of dollars being invested in research and development continuously. According to market data, the expected Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for 3D printing from 2017 to 2020 is forecasted to be 19 per cent with massive growth already realized during the last couple of years making such expectation sounds reasonable.

What are the justifications for such hype?

The additive manufacturing disrupts the traditional business models that governed businesses for centuries. In different industries like furniture or electronics, prototyping, spare parts and exotic designs are major operational challenges due to massive time and cost absorption. With the introduction of 3D printing, engineers now can come up with a prototype at any site, print the spare parts when needed and come up with highly customized designs and shapes easily. Consequently, reducing the cost and saving time as illustrated below:

1- Cost Reduction – Although the direct expenses for 3D printing is high, there are several cost savings from another perspective. Such technology may require high material cost but creating parts on-demand means eliminating warehousing, transporting and wastage cost.

 2- Time Saving – 3D printers cut ordering time as they simply create required parts at locations where it is needed. For example,

Spare parts availability and related costs are major bottlenecks in the automotive aftermarket sector. 3D printers already contributed in saving time as the American automaker FORD adopted 3D printing model that allows service centers to ‘Create’ needed spare part at their locations based on a standardized blueprint available at all service centers.

3D Printing Initiatives – Dubai & UAE

Back in 2016, the Dubai Government devised 3D printing strategy aiming to construct 25 per cent of the buildings by 2030 to be 3D printed in order to reduce labor (by 75%) and cost (by 90%). In addition to the construction industry, the strategy focused on other industries such as healthcare and consumer goods.

The world’s first 3D-printed office building saw the light in 2016 in Dubai, the process of printing took 17 days. Recently, Emaar Properties confirmed its first 3D-printed home to be built in Arabian Ranches. Likewise, surgeons in Dubai partnered with 3D healthcare technology company – Sinterex, to replace the jaw of a teenage girl diagnosed with an aggressive tumor.

Future of 3D Printing Technology

In a nutshell, the 3D printing technology is breaking the defaults of the whole value chain in manufacturing whether in procurement, processing, logistics or storage. It may be a luxury today, but there is a strong likelihood that it becomes a constant part of the future’s business models and everyday life.

Research Konnection is a market research company in Dubai that assists local and international companies to set up or expand businesses in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and UAE. At Research Konnection, we specialize in Market ResearchFeasibility Studies and Business Plan Developments. Feel free to reach out to us on hello@researchkonnection.com

Author: Arwa Ayyash
The author is a contributing writer at Research Konnection apart from being a corporate performance and strategy planning expert based in Dubai with core emphasis on market research and business consulting.