Was the Suez Canal blockage a defining moment for 3D printing?

The unprecedented recent blockage of the Suez Canal laid bare the dependence on global supply chains, with product and material shortages only now recovering from the lengthy delays that were caused by the Ever Given container ship.

Throughout the lengthy blockage, $9.6bn of goods were held up each day covering a whole range of items including raw materials, machinery and parts. In terms of global trade, the blockage was estimated to cost between $6bn and $10bn a week. With such devastating consequences, companies around the world are now looking to 3D printing to take control of their supply chain requirements and reduce their dependence on global shipping and logistics.

The Ever Given ship blockage at the Suez Canal

A recent report by Markforged looked at companies across aerospace and defence, automotive, education, electronics, medical, and manufacturing; and applications across prototyping, tools and fixtures, end-use parts, and maintenance parts. The results revealed the extent to which modern manufacturers are using additive manufacturing to drive supply chain optimisation and value in their organisations.

3D Technology Ltd. CEO James Wall

“In some instances there is a lack of awareness how much 3D printing is being used by leading manufacturing companies,” says James Wall, founder and CEO of 3D Technology Ltd. “They are taking control of their supply chains and adopting inhouse 3D printing for product development, spare part manufacturing and rapid response to urgent issues that arise regularly for manufacturing companies.”

The report found an unprecedented array of applications that demonstrate a strong, growing movement toward additive manufacturing. The applications cantered around four major themes: accessibility, design freedom, physical strength and durability, and reliability – all of which are meant to improve or complement their traditional manufacturing processes and workstreams.

It has been breath-taking to see the variety of additive applications that are changing manufacturing over the last 36 months in particular, from the ability to relieve skilled workers to focus on prototyping instead of tooling to producing critical experimental test nozzles in a matter of days instead of months. The scope of applications included in this Markforged report gives a unique view into the manufacturing industry and how additive manufacturing is driving business value.

To download the Markforged Additive Manufacturing Trends Report click here.

To learn more about the extensive range of 3D printers and solutions from Ireland’s leading 3D printer supplier check out www.3dtechnology.ie

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