Research and analysis

Additive manufacturing: mapping UK research into 3D printing

The report reviews research and development activities in additive manufacturing research and recommends ways to improve performance.


Mapping UK research and innovation in additive manufacturing

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Additive manufacturing is commonly known as 3D printing. This report shows significant growth in additive manufacturing research funding since 2012. It makes recommendations on how to improve the current low commercial performance of the technology. The report was commissioned by Innovate UK and authored by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council’s Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing and Stratasys Strategic Consulting.

The additive manufacturing industry was valued at $3.07 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow to $21 billion by 2020. This is due to adoption by key sectors such as aerospace, medical devices, automotive and creative industries.

In recent years, the industry has become known as an industrial process capable of making end-use parts. It offers benefits to society including that of mass customisation and reduced environmental impact.

Among the recommendations in the report are the development of a national strategy for additive manufacturing, and of a network of users and developers. A widening of initiatives on skills and education is also recommended.

Published 2 February 2016