3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing) Trend Report

I’ve published my 2014 Trend report on 3D Printing.  The 76 page powerpoint slide deck provides an overview of 3D Printing trend along marketplace research and insights and hundreds of links to additional resources.

About 3D Printing:  Also called Additive Manufacturing, 3D printing has been hailed as a transformative manufacturing technology, 3D printing involves fabrication of physical objects by depositing a material using a nozzle, print head, or any another printer technology. Though initially used for prototyping of products, 3D printing has evolved and is currently capable of customized short-run manufacturing of industrial products, dental implants, and medical devices. The reality is that 3D printing is finding use in a diverse range of applications across varied markets.

Technological advancements are increasingly facilitating the use of 3D printers for manufacturing final products. The technology has now reached a stage where digital models can be replicated to produce physical components or prototypes, which would be similar to those of mass produced products. The declining cost of printers has led a wide range of industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to footwear and jewelry to adopt 3D printing technology for manufacturing desired objects. 3D printing technology is thus offering individuals as well as companies with the ability to design as well as manufacture objects at relatively lower costs.

Table of Contents
My 2014 trend report includes the following table of contents.
1.Introduction to 3D Printing
2.Marketplace Opportunities and Industry Applications
3.Materials & Technologies
4.Vendor Ecosystem
5.Drivers, Challenges, Implications, Trends to Watch
6.Summary / Recommendations
7.Appendix:   Resources for further reading & understanding

 

The Robot Report: A Great Source for Robot Industry News

I wanted to inform you of a website that is a great source of news on the Robot Industry.  Plus the website has a great new mashup that displays the location of over 1000 robot industry related companies on a Google map.

While the market for industrial robotics is well established, there is a nascent and growing market for robots outside of the factory in government, business and in the home.  We are nearing a point in our history where robots and robotic technology will begin to play a much more active part in the lives of humans.  I believe there is huge potential for robots and robotic applications in not only on the manufacturing floor and for government defense, but in the consumer and business environment as well.  I do see a day on the horizon where robots will be mass produced like automobiles and smartphones are today.  That might seem crazy right now, but mark my words…it will happen.

Frank TobeSo I am interested in following this important emerging trend and learning about the future market for robots.   One person I have been following is Frank Tobe.  Frank loves researching and learning about the market for robots.  Early in 2008, in a personal effort to learn about the robotics industry and the future of robotics, Frank began an intensive research project that took him to Japan, Korea, Germany and all over the Internet.   In the process, he founded and created  The Robot Reportwebsite to communicate industry news, his research, and his thoughts about the development of this important technology trend.

The Robot Report  gathers and reports industry news, tracks the business of robotics, and has developed proprietary (ROBO-STOX™) methods to compare robot industry stock performance to the NASDAQ Index.  Whether reporting about a robotic arm, a new robotic hand or the stock results of the robotics industry, The Robot Report does a great job of keeping me informed about all the developments in the market for business and consumer robots.

1000-Global-Robot-MfgrsOver the last 4 years, Frank has built a comprehensive worldwide database of public and private companies that are participants in the robotics industry.  Recently Frank mashed this database with Google Maps to produce a global map of 1000+ robot manufacturers worldwide.  The map is color coded so Red markers show where industrial robots are produced; blue show service robots; and green reflect start-ups. The top 20 robotics universities and research labs are shown in yellow.   The map is located at this URL: http://www.therobotreport.com/index.php/site/TRR-Global-Map/.   You can find some detailed country level analysis by going  here.

Even though this industry is still in an emerging state, you can get a feel for the potential just by looking at all the companies involved.   The map certainly reveals the growing diversity, vigor and scope of today’s robotics industry.   Kudos to Frank Tobe for being a pioneer in researching and tracking this emerging industry.  You can read Frank’s blog posts at Everything-Robotic blog and you can follow him on Twitter via @therobotreport.

IDC Manufacturing Insights: 10 Predictions for Manufacturing in 2012

I attended the IDC Manufacturing Insights Predictions 2012:  Manufacturing conference call today.   I enjoyed this call as IDC highlighted the key 2012 trends within the Manufacturing Industry.

This was a global predictions call and was focused broadly on manufacturing industry wide predictions.  The IDC Manufacturing Insights team has scheduled other prediction calls going into more detail on topics like Supply Chain and Product Lifecycle Management.  There are also other calls coming up that focus on manufacturing related predictions in both Europe and Asia.   

Leading this conference call was the IDC Manufacturing Insights team of Joe Barkai (Vice President), Simon Ellis (Practice Director), Kimberly Knickle (Practice Director), Pierfrancesco Manenti (Head – EMEA), and Bob Parker (Group Vice President)

Summary

In 2012, the industry could be characterized as having cautious optimism.  Manufacturing is recovering but business will never be the same.  IDC showed spending forecasts for all major sub-industries with manufacturing and all industries show growth with the consumer oriented industries showing the most growth. 

The Ten Predictions

The 2012 predictions list below was sourced from the conference call slides.

  1. ‘Engaged’ Organizations. “Success in the intelligent economy will be achieved through “engaged” organizations”.
  2. ‘Four Forces’. “IT organizations will make foundational investments in the “four forces” that deliver both IT productivity and business value”  (note:  IDC says the four forces are Mobility, Big Data, Cloud, and Social Business)
  3. Supply Chain Alignment. “Manufacturers Focus on Clock-Speed Alignment across the Supply and Demand Sides of their Supply Chains”
  4. IT Support of Supply Chain. “The Requirement for Speed and the Ubiquity of Information Creates a New Landscape for IT Support of the Supply Chain”
  5. Lean Innovation. “Manufacturers Adopt Lean Innovation Throughout the Product Lifecycle”
  6. Product Lifecycle Visibility. “Greater Visibility and Deeper Understanding of All Aspects of Product Lifecycle Enable Context for Innovation”
  7. Factory of the Future: Capabilities.  “The Factory of the Future will be Driven by Capabilities to Fulfill Customer Demand Rather than Pure Production Capacity”
  8. Factory of the Future: Operations. “The Factory of the Future will Require a New Approach to Operations Applications”
  9. Culture of Learning. “Engaged Manufacturers Look Ahead by Creating a Culture of Learning”
  10. Sustainability. “Manufacturers Shine Environmental Sustainability Spotlight on the Factory as a Means of Getting to the Product”

For More Information