Outlook 2020: Trends in 3D Printing, digital warehousing and closing the manufacturing skills gap

65% of the world’s businesses are either unaware of 3D printing or have not implemented the technology into their workflow

What is next for 3D printing in 2020? Which new business opportunities will be unlocked and what is needed to overcome the final barriers in order to adopt additive manufacturing? Jos Burger, CEO of Ultimaker,the global leader in desktop 3D printing, shares his vision and expectations for 2020 below, including: the growth of 3D printing awareness around the globe, and increased digital distribution and warehousing of products. Jos will also highlight the importance of ecosystems and education as key building blocks to a world fully integrated with 3D printing. 

Growing Awareness of 3D Printing 

The inaugural 3D Printing Sentiment Index shows that 65% of the world’s businesses are either unaware of 3D printing or have not implemented the technology into their workflow. However, in the next two years, 25% of businesses surveyed believe that 3D printing will be widely adopted – compared to only 7% today. The growing awareness for the technology brings huge potential for industry growth in the coming years. As the global economy remains uncertain, businesses will increasingly seek quicker returns on investment that are based on open ecosystems. Ultimaker retains a strong competitive advantage in this space. By not only embracing the actual printer hardware, but also material partnerships, software offerings and cloud options, Ultimaker offers the industry’s only complete ecosystem that allows for seamless integration of the technology for end users. 

The Rise of the Digital Warehouse 

Besides new applications, 3D printing also brings new business opportunities, such as digital warehousing. 3D printed customized parts on demand, address needs immediately, decrease lead times and expensive delivery costs while waiting for orders to be fulfilled. Gerhard Schubert GmbH designs and prints customized, spare parts and safety tools for the packaging machines located at their clients on demand. TheThisAblesproject,enabled by IKEA Israel, is a great example of personalisation through digital warehousing. ThisAblesmakes IKEA’s bestselling products accessible to those with disabilities. Designs are available for download online, for 3D printing anywhere in the world and closest to the location of the person in need for this customised part. 

There are three ways to reduce the 65% of the world’s businesses that are either unaware of 3D printing or have not implemented the technology into their workflow. First, is by highlighting the work of early adopters such as Gerhard Schubert GmbH, IKEA, Heineken, Ford and Volkswagen for others to be inspired for how to implement 3D printing. Second is collaboration. Through collaboration, you can create the right integrations needed per industry. Open ecosystems are the key to long-term success. Third, and most important is the need for education on 3D printing in order to close the manufacturing skills gap. In 2020 Ultimaker will support businesses in bridging this gap in order to accelerate the worlds transition to digital distribution and local manufacturing.
Jos Burger, CEO at Ultimaker
About Ultimaker

Since 2011, Ultimaker has built an open and easy-to-use solution of 3D printers, software and materials that enable professional designers and engineers to innovate every day. Today, Ultimaker is the market leader in desktop 3D printing. From offices in the Netherlands, New York, Boston, and Singapore – plus production facilities in Europa and the US – its global team of over 400 employees work together to accelerate the world’s transition to digital distribution and local manufacturing.