Region APAC 2024

Region APAC 2024

Regional reports from APAC experts

The APAC region generally covers Australia, the far east asian countries such as Japan and China as well as India. While Japan entered the Additive Manufacturing market much later than others, China is currently one of the largest players in the gloal industry. This report section covers regional reports of contributing local authors, who each are experts in the characteristicy of the regional Additive Manufacturing landscape.

By Kitty Wang

China’s 3D Printing Soars Amid Rapid Expansion and Profit Competition

In 2023, the Chinese 3D printing market shows a multifaceted and rapid development trend. Equipment manufacturers in fields ranging from polymers to metals are introducing larger and more efficient devices. Leading companies in metal and polymer 3D printing materials witness a swift rise in sales. Additionally, 3D printing services in China are experiencing a rapid and widespread development, with numerous new service providers entering the market. Behind the industry’s lively growth, challenges persist as competition intensifies, squeezing profit margins. Balancing current development with long-term goals will be a crucial test of strategic capabilities for companies in the future.

During the TCT Asia exhibition, BLT unveiled the BLT-S1500, a metal 3D printing device with a large print area of 1.5m x 1.5m x 1.2m, featuring 26 lasers and achieving a maximum printing speed of 900 ccm/h. In December 2023, BLT completed a CNY 3 billion private placement. With nearly 400 installed in-house metal 3D printers, the fourth phase of BLT’s super factory will bring the total to over 700 unites of 3D printers. EPLUS3D introduced the EP-M1550, utilizing an innovative configuration with sixteen lasers and mirrors, achieving a net forming area of 1.55m x 1.55mm in the XY direction and 1m in the Z direction (customizable up to 2m). Injection molding market leader NINGBO HAITIAN introduced a series of cost-effective metal 3D printing devices, reflecting another phenomenon in China’s 3D printing sector: traditional equipment manufacturers rapidly entering emerging fields, bringing new changes to the current competitive landscape through their manufacturing experience, technological strength, financial resources, and brand influence.

Apart from industrial-grade 3D printing devices becoming larger and faster, BAMBU LAB’s high-speed and stable desktop 3D printing technology is penetrating the industrial manufacturing market with explosive revenue growth, expected to reach CNY 2 billion in 2023.

After initial exploratory applications of 3D printing technology, the demands on 3D printing from the application side in China have become more specialized in 2023. 3D printing companies have generally moved beyond the challenges of the educating the market, while application-side strategies for introducing 3D printing into more professional and industrialized frameworks will further drive the development of 3D printing in China.

A notable case is BLUE ARROW AEROSPACE. On July 12, 2023, the Zhuque II Y2 carrier rocket successfully launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, entering the designated orbit. On December 9, 2023, at 07:39, the Zhuque II Y3 liquid oxygen methane carrier rocket successfully launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, placing three satellites into the designated orbit. Zhuque II became the world’s first liquid oxygen methane carrier rocket to achieve consecutive successful launches, further validating its technological maturity and stability. BLT provided comprehensive metal additive manufacturing technical support for the crucial components of Zhuque II.

Moreover, fields such as dentistry and shoe molds are rapidly being deeply penetrated by 3D printing technology, with various manufacturers in these application areas introducing end-to-end solutions. China’s strong manufacturing foundation and rapid supply chain responsiveness contribute to the rapid expansion and spiraling rise of 3D printing amid profit competition.

Kitty Wang
Kitty Wang is the founder of 3D Science Valley. Majored in Mathematics in university and with many years of industry experience including work experiences with Sandvik, Chevron, and DMGMORI, Kitty has provided professional consulting services to Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization, multinational corporations and the industry market leaders in China. Kitty is the co-author of the book of <3D Printing and Automobile Industry Technology Development Report> in cooperation with the Chinese Society of Automotive Engineering, and also is co-author of the book of <3D Printing and Industrial Manufacturing> in cooperation with the Industrial Culture Development Center of the Ministry of Industry and Information.

By Jaspreet Sidhu

Government shaping Indian AM Eco System

India aims to become a manufacturing hub to the world. In this backdrop Additive Manufacturing has immense potential to revolutionize India’s manufacturing and industrial production landscape with its technology that brings digitalization, improved functionality, productivity, and competitiveness. AM technologies have almost unlimited potential, and the range of their applications have increased in recent years but at the same time as a nation we need to emphasise more on local technology development, creating our own AM Eco System leading towards Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-sufficiency in AM).

In 2023 the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM) was officially inaugurated by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of the Government of India, Telangana State Government & industry at Hyderabad. The vision of NCAM is to develop a comprehensive Additive Manufacturing ecosystem in the county and position India as a global AM manufacturing hub. Since its inception NCAM has conducted several activities to nurture AM activities by supporting startups, organizing events and facilitating collaboration.

During the last year, a number of large AM Events were conducted in India which attracted global companies to promote themselves in the region. The local universities focused on research around new technology development on lasers, biomedical, metal AM and large format 3D Printing. The startups were seen coming up with new innovative solutions which currently doesn’t exist in India and trying to grow the market in a new direction. Most of these startups were funded by the government and by private venture capitalists. Most likely, it’s the startups which would bring the next big AM revolution in India.

Jaspreet Sidhu
Currently the CEO of NCAM – National Centre for Additive Manufacturing India. He is keen to drive broader engagements with brands, businesses, startups, academic and research institutions to implement AM Roadmap of India. Over the years, Jaspreet has influenced many businesses to include not only robust business planning and executional excellence, but also a knack for positioning the business with respect to the prevalent market dynamics. He has been a leader through and throughout his past engagements leading additive manufacturing businesses in UK, Europe, India and Middle-east. He has a Master’s Degree in Additive Manufacturing from De Montfort University Leicester England UK with 18 years of work experience.

By Hideaki Oba

Current State of Additive Manufacturing in Japan

In Japan, COVID-19 restrictions have been finally lifted, allowing for the revival of pre-pandemic economic activities. The perception of AM’s usefulness has increased during the pandemic, leading to a shift to more practical consideration, particularly in supply chain transformation and short lead times.
While Japan has a limited number of equipment manufacturers, there is a growing trend of combining AM with technologies such as material science and environmental impact reduction. This has resulted in an increase in activities that seek to discover new value through AM, with announcements of products and services utilizing this technology.

The Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) have announced “Key and Advanced Technology R&D through Cross Community Collaboration Program (K Program)”. As part of this program, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) announced participation in advanced metal Additive Manufacturing development and demonstration activity, with a total budget of 27 billion yen.

In 2022, new collaborations between industries and academia emerged, and in 2023, the establishment of a new industry-academia collaboration organization, the Japan Additive Manufacturing Society, was announced, led by Professor Todoroki at Tokyo Institute of Technology. In the ceramics field, a research meeting hosted by the Fine Ceramics Association was held, anticipating future applications.
The application of AM technology extends across various sectors. TOYOTA, for example, adopted HSS fabricated parts produced by SOLIZE for the Lexus LC500’s official optional component (air intake duct). The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) introduced SPEE3D’s WarpSPEE3D and XSPEE3D. In the construction industry, SERENDIX, aiming for AM-based housing construction, began selling AM-manufactured small houses (50 sqm) for 5.5 million yen. OBAYASHI manufactured some concrete blocks for revetments using AM, achieving weight reduction and improved workability.

Japanese AM-related companies are also active. EXTRA BOLD, aiming for the recycling and upcycling of resin materials through AM, raised 260 million yen in funding from investors, including MITSUI CHEMICALS. They also released the collaborative robot-supported REX-BUTLER AM forming unit. On the material front, TORAY has started mass production and sales of a truly spherical polyamide Trepearl PA6. Furthermore, SANYO SPECIAL STEEL, a metal material manufacturer, announced the AM forming material S-MEC Series for die casting molds. Additionally, TOYOTA and SUNMETALON announced joint development of an aluminum alloy recycling process.

Exhibitions have seen a turnout exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels, with a growing number of direct exhibitors from overseas. Notable events include TCT Japan 2023 (01-03 February), DMS Japan 2023 (21-23 June), and FFT (Formnext Forum Tokyo) 2023 (28-29 September).

Hideaki Oba
Since 2016, Hideaki Oba has been working as a researcher at the Japan 3D Printing Industry Technology Association, aiming to improve awareness of AM technology in Japan, promote its use, and co-create the industry. The Japan 3D Printing Industry Technology Association introduces information in a wide range of fields such as equipment, materials, software, and applications to Japanese companies.
After earning a master’s degree in organic chemistry at Kyushu University, Hideaki worked as a researcher at an electronics company, engaged in international collaboration activities in the field of optical recording, and promoted standardization.

By Mahendran Reddy

Singapore’s Renaissance in Manufacturing: Pioneering the Future with Additive Brilliance

Welcome to Singapore, a global exemplar of efficiency, cleanliness, and cultural harmony—a nexus where diversity is fundamental to business success. As one steps onto the grounds of Changi International Airport, the transformative touch of Additive Manufacturing (AM) subtly unveils itself. From Tiffany’s resplendent 3D-printed store façade, crafted from recycled materials, to the ethereal AirMesh Pavilion at Gardens by the Bay, and the heartening tale of the Great Hornbill at Bird Paradise receiving a 3D-printed prosthesis—these moments herald Singapore’s foray into AM, propelling it into a future poised for brilliance.

Singapore’s ecosystem has undergone a rapid evolution over the past decade. The amalgamation of sustainable growth, technological advancement, and the cultivation of a skilled workforce attuned to the intricacies of AM defines Singapore’s commitment to a future where 3D printing plays a pivotal role in the economic and technological landscape. At the intersection of technology, research, and industry, Singapore strategically positions itself as a hub for AM excellence. Dynamic partnerships involving key government agencies, such as the Economic Development Board Singapore (EDB), Enterprise Singapore (ESG), National Research Foundation (NRF), and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), alongside esteemed research institutions like the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and SUTD, form the bedrock of this flourishing ecosystem.

Central to Singapore’s commitment is the synergy fostered through robust public-private partnerships. The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), established in 2017, brings together government agencies, research institutions, and industry leaders to collectively propel the adoption and acceleration of additive manufacturing technologies. NAMIC’s Annual Additive Manufacturing Week held in September 2023, is a showcase of capabilities and innovations driving AM, and its Global Additive Manufacturing Summit serves as bastions of thought leadership. The summit witnessed the signing of significant MOUs, including the establishment of Pelagus 3D, a joint venture between THYSSENKRUPP and WILHELMSEN, positioning it as the largest on-demand digital manufacturing partner. The Start Up Innovation forum, a platform to nurture and propel AM solutions to the next level was held for the 4th year attracting global interests.

Initiatives such as the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC), a public-private partnership between A*STAR and industry leaders like ROLLS-ROYCE, P&G, HYUNDAI, SIEMENS, VOESTALPINE, and HALLIBURTON, underscore Singapore’s commitment to addressing manufacturing challenges collectively. The recent addition of German motion technology company SCHAEFFLER in 2024 further enhances this collaborative synergy.

Multinational companies (MNCs) in Singapore have embraced AM. Siemens has invested in a large Advanced Manufacturing Transformation Centre (AMTC) as a show case for various OEMS and skills upgrading. GE Additive has invested in a centre of excellence. GE Aviation Singapore offers metal AM for engine component repair and  is the first facility worldwide that has been approved to use metal AM for commercial jet engine component repairs. Airbus is launching its Sustainable Innovation Hub with AM as a feature.

Over 200 further companies leverage 3D printing technologies for prototyping, small-batch production, and advanced manufacturing. Enterprise Singapore (ESG) plays a pivotal role in empowering SMEs with AM technology. Collaborations continue to sprout in various sectors, exemplified by the Maritime Port Authority and NAMIC launching the Joint Industry Program Phase 3 in 2023 to drive AM adoption and innovation for the maritime sectors with strategic consortia of ecosystem collaborators.

Singapore’s advanced manufacturing vision acknowledges the transformative potential of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, additive manufacturing, and advanced materials. Centres of excellence for Additive Manufacturing in various industry verticals, such as the ASTM Centre of Excellence, JOHNSON & JOHNSON – National University Hospital 3DP Point of Care lab, and HP-NTU Corporate Lab, are testaments to the growing investments by MNCs in Singapore. Recent collaborations, such as NTU and Singapore General Hospital’s commitment to a joint R&D lab in AM, signify the exploration of 3D printing for regenerative medicine and the development of 3D prosthetic and orthotic devices.

Mahendran Reddy
Mahendran Reddy, adept in Innovation and Design, brings 25+ years‘ experience in Singapore’s creative sectors. He excels in connecting individuals, organizations, and industries to advance 3D Printing and technology. Skilled in management, design thinking, and interpersonal abilities, he excels in team building and lateral influence. As an architect, he founded the National Design Centre and led Additive Manufacturing adoption in Southeast Asia’s consumer sector at a global MNC. Guiding Additive Manufacturing efforts at NAMIC Singapore, he led Global AM Summits. Graduating from NUS School of Architecture and holding a Masters from Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL London, Mahendran aims to enhance Fehrmann Tech Group’s global presence with his expertise.

By Alberto Andreu

The beginning of South Korea’s 3rd AM promotion plan

2023 has shown a steady growth of AM adoption in South Korea and a significant increase in exports of AM machines. However, these are mainly limited to desktop 3D printers and imports remain substantially larger due to a lack of domestic industrial PBF hardware providers. While the domestic 3D printing market and adoption are relatively small compared to neighboring China and Japan, in recent years, the government has launched a series of initiatives to promote the domestic use and development of 3D printing.

In this regard, 2023 marked the starting year of South Korea’s 3rd three-year promotion plan, wherein three driving strategies have been established to promote 3D printing. The first (2017-2019) and second (2020-2022) promotion plans focused on demand creation through applications and technology development for various industries. The third (2023-2025) and final promotion plan aims to strengthen domestic growth, establish a global presence, and participate in developing standards and regulations for 3D printing. To this end, the government invested around USD 70 million in various R&D projects to develop new technologies, materials, and applications and to establish various safety guidelines and education courses such as bachelor’s degree programs and safety courses. The government will also support the establishment of various shared manufacturing facilities to strengthen AM adoption amongst SMEs further. An example of this is the 3D Printing Convergence Technology Center in Ulsan, which was completed in December 2023. It is also expected to be used to accumulate manufacturing data in greater quantity through shared manufacturing facilities to develop the technologies faster.

Korea also hosted the ISO/TC 261 general meeting and the 10th ASTM International AM Center of Excellence workshop in September 2023 to progress international standards, with a particular focus on environmental health and safety and photopolymerizable ceramic 3D printing. During the workshop, South Korea’s 3D Fusion Industry Association signed a memorandum of understanding with ASTM International, indicating Korea’s efforts in qualifying and certifying AM for broader adoption.

The industry adoption landscape in Korea has also diversified in recent years. However, the automotive, medical, and shipbuilding industries continue to show the highest AM adoption while the military commences to explore its benefits. In March, the Navy successfully used DED 3D printing to maintain and repair the engine of a DDH-I class destroyer. Meanwhile, HD HYUNDAI HEAVY INDUSTRIES continues to explore and develop new 3D printing applications for part manufacturing as well as carry out maintenance and repair operations at sea. Moreover, in the automotive sector, HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP is also exploring the integration of 3D printing into electric vehicle manufacturing and HANKOOK TIRE actively uses metal 3D printing for tire mould manufacturing as well as repair operations.

Furthermore, LINCSOLUTION, a 3D printing service and Material Extrusion and large format Vat Polymerization hardware manufacturer, announced its intention to go public in KOSDAQ following the signing of collaboration agreements with XAAR and HP to commercialize metal Binder Jetting and to develop automation solutions. Also, T&R BIOFAB, which 3D prints medical implants and scaffolds, announced a new partnership with CJ FOODS (CJ CHEILJEDANG) to explore and develop alternative meat using bioprinting. Research efforts from domestic universities have also increased in 2023, making South Korea the country with the 7th most research publications on 3D printed related topics, with more than half focused on new materials.

Alberto Andreu
Alberto Andreu is the co-founder and CTO of Unitech3DP, a South Korea-based start-up developing a proprietary 3D printing technology using metal scraps and recycled metals as raw materials. He graduated from Karlsruhe Institute of Science and Technology (KIT) in Germany and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in South Korea with a dual master’s degree in mechanical engineering. His 3D printing journey started while working at the 3D printing department at Daimler AG, and throughout his studies and professional career, Alberto has worked with and researched various 3D printing technologies. Since 2022, he is also a researcher affiliated with KAIST University.

Data and sources

Published: 14 March 2024

Source: AMPOWER / authors as described

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