Region EMEA 2024

Region EMEA 2024

Regional report from EMEA experts

The EMEA region generally covers Europe, Russia, the african continent and the middle East. Europe is one of the birth regions of Additive Manufacturing while in the middle east, Israel is a hotspot for startups in new technologies. This report section covers regional reports of contributing local authors, who each are experts in the characteristicy of the regional Additive Manufacturing landscape.

3d printing market by region

By Christian Seidel

Relevant developments for AM in Germany

The year 2023 closed successfully for Additive Manufacturing in Germany with a new visitor record at the world’s leading AM-trade fair Formnext in Frankfurt. The number of visitors increased by 11% (2019: 34,532, 2022: 29,581, 2023: 32.851) and the number of exhibitors by 7% (2019: 852, 2022: 802, 2023: 859).

The period leading up to Formnext in November 2023 was characterized by light and shade. The rather weak overall economic situation in Germany, with 0% growth in Q2 and Q3, also had an impact on progress in Additive Manufacturing. On the rather bright side, this overall development also led to fruitful discussion about the correct prioritization of Additive Manufacturing in political support and industrial use. It was recognized in 2023 that in 2024 it is necessary to strengthen the existing structures and initiatives for additive manufacturing again. There is also great potential in activating the private sector to a greater extent. As a result, the German large-scale industry-academia collaborations have benefited and are supposed to further benefit in 2024. Examples comprise:
1. Berlin: AM activities at Werner-von-Siemens Centre for Industry and Science
2. Hamburg: “IAMHH” initiative, driven by Prof. Ingomar Kelbassa of Fraunhofer IAPT and currently supported by 68 partners, mainly from Hamburg area
3. Munich: Launch of TUM Oerlikon Advanced Manufacturing Institute (2023) with 30 scientists as a result of “TUM.Additive” initiative, where Technical University Munich (TUM) bundles the research activities of more than 30 chairs and professorships in the field of AM.
4. Bavaria: progress in the negotiations on the creation of a “Bavarian Additive Manufacturing Cluster”

Besides the well-known technical advances achieved by German AM equipment manufacturers, the progress in polymer smoothening activities is particularly noteworthy. Germany has today three companies which focus on chemical smoothening of AM plastic parts. The most well-known one is DYEMANSION as part of the extended EOS family. Besides DYEMANSION, LUXYOURS entered the market a few years ago and released its new machine in 2023. Completing the list of Bavarian chemical smoothening companies, ASM entered this business and released its low-cost (below EUR 50,000 ) system at Formnext to beta customers. Using non-hazardous vapors, ASM technology is used to smooth plastic components and functionalize surfaces in a targeted manner.

Political discussions in Germany were dominated by more fundamental topics than Additive Manufacturing. However, the German AM community intensified its “internal discussions” on the ideal way of political support for the further development of AM in the international competition. One of the largest German Networks “MgA – We boost AM” decided at its annual meeting to prioritize exchange with political representatives in the upcoming business year. Also, the VDMA increased its support for AM. The VDMA is the German Association of Mechanical and Plant Engineering and with 3,600 members amongst the largest network organization and an important voice for the machinery and equipment manufacturing industry in Germany and Europe. Ultimately, the joint objective is to attract more financial support for the further development and implementation of AM.

Furthermore, numerous advances in research have been recorded. In particular, research in the field of multi-material processing of metals was successfully transferred to industrial applications. Two major projects with a funding volume of EUR 13.5 million were successfully completed in 2023 at the Fraunhofer IGCV (Augsburg/Munich), a pioneer institute in this field. The research results were taken up by industrial partners, resulting in the signing of a MoU between Fraunhofer IGCV and NIKON SOLM SOLUTIONS at Formnext 2023, for example. Furthermore, at the Chair DAP at Aachen University RWTH milestones in data-related topics for AM were achieved. In particular, the TRL level for DAP’s Open Vector format was increased and an open-source streaming protocol was released. Furthermore, progress in solutions for hydrogen applications was achieved.

The Bavarian Laser Center BLZ, together with Chair LPT at University Erlangen FAU increased its research in Pharmaceutical 3D printing. In particular, LPT-researchers used electrophotographic powder application for the fabrication of patient-specific tablets, allowing for patient-optimized arrangement of the different active pharmaceutical ingredients.

The independent research institute IFW, based in Jena, intensified its research in Sheet Lamination (SL) technology. In particular, ifw-scientists achieved 40% energy savings by utilizing innovative heated pressing plates. SL is in Germany a niche AM technology that combines laser- or water-jet cutting with subsequent diffusion bonding. This technology is in particular suitable for manufacturing of heat sinks or cold plates.

The DMRC team at Paderborn University reported progress in processing of flame-retardant polymers and AI driven process monitoring for laser-based powder bed fusion.

At the Technical University Munich, the EU-funded project InShaPe made progress towards its objective to enable a first-time-right PBF-L/M process with up to 7 times higher build rates through beam shaping.

Prof. Dr. Christian M. Seidel
Christian Seidel is Professor for “Manufacturing Technologies and Additive Manufacturing” at Munich University of Applied Sciences and Management Consultant for Additive Manufacturing. Christian has already received five awards from European and American organizations for his achievements in the field of additive manufacturing. His previous positions include Chairman of ISO TC261 and Head of AM research at Fraunhofer IGCV.

By Franc Coenen

Benelux: the year with two faces for the AM industry

Additive Manufacturing has gained momentum in 2023 in the Benelux, especially in the high-tech industry. Almost all Benelux Tier 1 suppliers to the semiconductor industry are nowadays using Additive Manufacturing as a production technology. KMWE, NTS NORMA, FMI and HITTECH GROUP have been exploring the technology for years. In the last couple of years, just like ANVIL INDUSTRIES and VDL ETG, they took the step to series production with AM and invested in the necessary technology. VDL ETG, for example, has opted for ADDITIVE INDUSTRIES’ MetalFab Gen 2; KMWE uses the AM systems of Nikon SLM SOLUTIONS and has opened an AM production center in the spring of 2023 in its facility on BRAINPORT CAMPUS in Eindhoven. ANVIL INDUSTRIES has established a position in the AM industry with the acquisition of MACHINEFABRIEK DE VALK, one of the AM-pioneers in the Netherlands. WILTING GROUP, another supplier of components to the high-tech industry (including medical), will move to a new location near Eindhoven in early 2024. There is room to expand the number of 3D metal printers (currently from 3D SYSTEMS) from the current 2 to 20, including the corresponding capacity for post-processing.

The trend for sustainability and shorter lead times is partly prompted by the fact that ASML is currently pushing AM. The company has announced its own standard for AM parts in 2023, largely based on ASTM International standards. For the time being, Laser Powder Bed Fusion is the AM technology that the Dutch suppliers have opted for. However, some are looking at DED technology as well. HITTECH GROUP, which outsources the actual AM production to partner 3T ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING in the United Kingdom, uses NORSK TITANIUM’s RPD technology in addition to L-PBF. Together, the companies produce large machine frames for the semiconductor industry. Additive manufacturing replaces CNC milling of titanium forging parts. Sustainability and shorter lead times are two important reasons for choosing Additive Manufacturing.

With a player like CEAD, the Benelux is leading the way when it comes to large format printing with (fibre-reinforced) polymers. However, there are several parties in the Benelux that use extruders with a large throughput coupled with robots for printing large format workpieces. For example, 10XL is working with HOLLAND SHIPYARD on an autonomously sailing electric ferry that will be used at the Olympic Games in Paris in the summer of 2024. The hull of this ferry for the Seine measures 9 by 4 meters and is 3D printed with post-consumer recyclate.

The University of Leuven has been working for six years on copper powders that are less reflective and therefore absorb more laser energy. In particular, the fluidity and oxidation resistance have been improved. As a result, the powder can be recycled more often and has a longer shelf life. All this has a positive effect on the properties of the 3D printed copper parts and reduces costs. The Flemish company AMNOVIS has licensed this technology and 3D prints copper structures with 200 μm wall thickness with an infrared laser. At Utrecht University, a lot of research is being done into biomedical 3D printing. Recently, researchers at the university’s Regenerative Medicine Center have made a breakthrough with volumetric 3D printing. In a matter of seconds, a complex structure of several centimeters can be printed. In combination with electrowriting, the researchers want to print scaffolds and blood vessels. TU Delft opened the Materials for Additive Manufacturing Lab at the end of 2023. The aim is to develop AM materials with higher strengths and better energy efficiency, as well as materials based on sustainable raw materials. TU Delft’s AM research focuses mainly on space applications and the energy transition. In order to bridge the gap between academic research and practice in SMEs, the universities of applied sciences Fontys, Saxion and Windesheim have joined forces and jointly started the IAMM initiative (Industrial Additive Manufacturing in Metals). The three universities of applied sciences are supported by a number of universities and industry associations and high-tech companies. The aim is to use projects to convince SMEs in the manufacturing industry of the potential that AM offers.

In recent years, the AM ecosystem in the Benelux has become internationally known mainly due to the active position of FLAM3D, a local network organization. At Formnext, FLAM3D always provided a large Benelux pavilion, which offered startups such as VALCUN the opportunity to present themselves on an international platform early on. FLAM3D also initiated cooperation between participants within the eco-system. At the end of 2023, FLAM3D ceased to exist. The organization was part of a Flemish non-profit organization for which the government funding terminated as of 31 December 2023. Attempts to transfer the network organization to another club have failed. However, there will be a modest restart in 2024 in the form of the new IAM3D network.

As a result, there is also – for now? – an end to the 3D Delta initiative, the promising cooperation between the Dutch and Flemish AM ecosystems. International cooperation can sometimes be quite difficult, it turns out.

Franc Coenen
As a freelance journalist, Franc Coenen has extensive experience writing about the manufacturing industry in the Benelux. Approximately 25 years ago, he encountered a 3D printer for the first time at EuroMold, which piqued his interest. Since then, he has closely followed developments in the additive manufacturing (AM) industry. In 2015, he launched his own online platform dedicated to 3D printing and additive manufacturing in the Benelux: 3D Print magazine. While covering various 3D printing applications, his primary focus remains on industrial 3D printing, encompassing both metal and polymer-based processes.

By Josh Dugdale

Challenges still ahead as the UK economy looks forward to better times

The United Kingdom continues to operate through a difficult period economically. Last year saw a growing cost of living crisis, the start of the Israel-Hamas war, a continuation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, employee strikes from a variety of sectors, persistent supply chain issues and several government scandals causing an almost constant source of instability for business. The UK economy mostly flatlined through 2023 and is expected to remain subdued throughout 2024.

However, despite the negative outlook, the UK has recently risen to the eight largest manufacturing nation in the world, with an annual output of £224 billion, and for organisations working with Additive technology, 2023 saw the start of Additive Manufacturing UK (AMUK) – a trade association specifically setup to help push forward the development, adoption, and use of Additive and 3D Printing technologies in the UK.
From a public funding perspective, for the last 7 years, there has been approximately £70 million available annually, for Additive and 3D Printing related projects. This is roughly split evenly between early-stage research at universities and industrial stage research around process improvement and certification of AM parts at companies. The view is that this publicly funded research is having a positive impact on the UK standing in AM, as the UK is currently ranked fourth globally in the total number of patents listed. However, there is a perception that the benefit of this funding is not tricking down fully to the supply chain in the UK, in supporting them to adopt and use AM in their product designs.

Considering the different industrial sectors in the UK, aerospace is looking positive, with a strong order backlog and demand for flying still growing strong. Automotive is looking neutral with the economic environment impacting the sector. The defence sector is a hugely growing area, with several AM machines being installed at military sites, and project TAMPA being used to stimulate the use of Additive technology in military applications. The medical sector also continues to remain a strong.

2023 also saw several UK based AM value chain technology manufacturers, move from a start-up space to being fully established within the AM ecosystem. WAAM3D, RENISHAW and PHOTOCENTRIC have been joined by WAYLAND ADDITIVE, CONSTRUCT3D and RAPLAS as UK based AM machine manufactures. AMT POSTPRO now have TEXTUREJET for company in the post processing space. Finally, we’ve seen innovate companies establish themselves in the Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) space, with PLASTOMETREX and THETA TECHNOLOGIES developing and manufacturing innovate solutions for the testing of AM parts.

Generally, in the AM sector, the level of confidence in growth slipped back in the autumn of 2023 to its lowest level recorded, however it does remain positive. AMUK data suggested that the machines element of the sector was the weakest as it had the lowest balance on the trend for the UK market. AM materials, AM products and AM services were also all weaker than in the spring of 2023, but still recorded a positive confidence in growth that was stronger than for machines. At least some of the industries that use, or could use, AM technology appear to be outperforming the UK economy as a whole, especially aerospace and medical.

Overall, while the UK economy looks set for another tough year in 2024, with little growth expected, exposure to disruption from global events and the unsettling effects of a General Election, there is a degree of optimism for the AM sector from the increasing use of the technologies across the manufacturing sectors.

Josh Dugdale
Josh is a chartered mechanical engineering, with experience in the automotive, clean energy, defence, and security sectors. He started with the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) in October 2016, where he initially led their legislative and standardisation work, before founding Additive Manufacturing UK (AMUK) as a trade association as part of the MTA Cluster in October 2022. Josh has since led AMUK to become the leading voice of Additive and 3D Printing technology in the UK, representing 70 companies who comprise the UK AM ecosystem and launching its inaugural action plan. Josh’s experience provides a strong knowledge of the overall AM ecosystem based in the UK.

By Bruno Bernard

France 2024: beyond the Olympic Games

The overall impression suggests a notable improvement in the French market, presenting promising opportunities compared to other European regions. This is a new development. From different angles, various non-French technology providers (powder, machines, etc.) report better success and growth in France. While aerospace and defense remain prominent driver in the nation, noteworthy advancements are also seen in medical (PBF), dental (PBF), and automotive (DED for coating). The delayed start of the French AM market enables more consistent growth, contrasting with the “stop and go” nature of the German market, currently seen as overcapacity by OEMs. Let us look at the details with an OEM, a large user and a leading tech center.

SAFRAN has created a business unit for in house production: SAFRAN Additive. The driver is the OEM part manufacturing for engine applications (aircraft & helicopter). MRO (repair and maintenance) is currently not in the focus. The AM activity is growing fast thanks to a spectacular internal adoption momentum. The internal budget for applications development is set at EUR 10 million in 2023, rising to 15 in 2024 from 3 in 2022. Over 50 engineers are assigned to support all group design offices, fostering the use of AM and enabling technically feasible AM solutions.
There are two primary areas: parts for the new engine generation anticipated for the future single aisle wave set to enter service around 2035, which will feature 20 times more AM parts than current ones (e.g., RISE open rotor prototype co-developed with GE, providing a constant benchmark justifying SAFRAN’S pride and satisfaction), and supply chain securitization aiming to establish a dual source in the supply chain. Consequently, there is no bandwidth to retrofit existing in-service parts (i.e., to AM-produce parts originally certified in traditional manufacturing mode). SAFRAN Additive uses PBF and Wire DED machines coming from 7 suppliers same as last year. They have an active technology watch on Binder Jetting and other sinter-based processes like Cold Metal Fusion.
As usual SAFRAN is also supporting the efforts of the European supply chain to be ready for the future new program wave (planned to enter service in 2035). However, they consider the progress as slow due to the lack of a standards. Consequently, a bunch of tier 2 companies is reasonably advanced and the rest remains at a low level of adoption.

ADDUP’s situation is much more satisfactory than before with approximately 60 sold units. After several years of expansion through acquisitions they have severely focused by sizing down their part manufacturing department, while still employing around 250 people in total. The former POLYSHAPE is now assigned with the mission to support the machines sales activity and offer back-up solutions to machine customers instead of being a profit center oriented service bureau. Furthermore, the capacity of non-powder bed processes was reduced (DED, the former BEAM ).
In parallel ADDUP has established a new business unit devoted to advisory services which they consider as a must to expand their activity and foster the transformation of production models. This unit employs around 20 consulting experts advising on portfolio screening, certification or qualification, business model design and cost management in Europe (targeting large groups especially in aerospace and defense) and USA (targeting start-ups in medical and tooling). In this regard, they observe the French market progressing gradually (machine sales are expected to pick up in one or two years), but definitely moving in the right direction, marked by an increase in exploration and learning projects. In a nutshell, their focus and marketing strategy revolve around being an OEM with robust industrial expertise also thanks to their shareholder MICHELIN GROUP producing over 1 million AM parts annually. In terms of future product development, ADDUP is currently starting the development of a large size machine for market release by end of 2026. The system in the meter size range is aimed at defense at first and aviation structural parts in a second step. The repeated governmental initiative to foster industrial reshuffling (so called “France 2030 program”) together with the large defense customers support should help to make this project a reality.

CETIM is the main French industrial technology center to support the needs of the various professional users. In their 4 locations across the territory, they test and showcase the main metal 3d printing processes. For example, they are showcasing and promoting sinter-based processes (Binder Jetting and Cold Metal Fusion) with several technical projects devoted to check and/or improve the repeatability and manufacturing performances. Aim is to support the scale-up of industrial use cases with their industrial members.
In the same manner, they invest time and resources on the Meld technology, considered promising in terms of speed and productivity when the surface finish is not of high importance. An investment in in-house Meld equipment is likely for 2024.
In one of their locations (Bourges) they are starting the so called “printing “project (a multilaser large size integrated facility) in order to fulfill the needs of the defense supply chain. On March 20th/21st CETIM will hold its bi-yearly symposium on metal 3d printing (with focus on Italy, Portugal, Australia and Singapore).

Bruno Bernard
Bruno is an engineer by training (Ecole Polytechnique/Ecole des Mines de Paris) and started his career as an executive of the French Ministry of Industry. Leaving the administration sector he became a corporate banker and was 10 years long Managing Director of Credit Lyonnais in Germany. He entered the aerospace industry as a senior executive of Safran Group, first of all in charge of the Group continuous improvement Program and then as CEO of a major Group company devoted to engineering services in aerospace operating worldwide in 11 countries and dealing with major customers like Airbus, Boeing and Embraer and Safran itself. He was the first CEO of AddUp the metal 3D printing machines OEM based on the technology internally developed by Michelin. He is currently a Senior industrial Advisor with a strong focus on implementing innovation in industrial technologies especially 3D printing./div>

By Gal Raz

Israel’s 3D Industry in 2024

Israel has earned its reputation as a global tech powerhouse with a long history of developing 2D ink jetting technologies and material 3D jetting, consistently birthing innovative solutions, and attracting top talent. As we enter 2024, however, the industry navigates a complex landscape of global economic uncertainty, geopolitical realities, and a talent crunch. Yet, amidst these challenges, immense opportunities emerge, particularly for the burgeoning realm of 3D technologies. This forecast delves into the potential trends shaping Israel’s hi-tech future in 2024, highlighting how 3D software and printing can contribute to its continued dynamism and growth.

In 2023, global economic uncertainty may linger, affecting venture capital inflows and IPOs. Companies are advised to look for consolidation and strategic mergers to seek stability in the face of macroeconomic turbulence. Geopolitical risks, including the lingering effects of the Gaza conflict and potential regional instability, could impact investor confidence and talent recruitment. The demand for skilled tech professionals continues to outpace supply, highlighting the need for government initiatives and universities to prioritize 3D technology education. Investors might place a higher emphasis on profitability and proven business models, potentially squeezing early-stage 3D ventures. Therefore, adaptation and a clear value proposition will be crucial in navigating this shift in investor focus.

Anticipated opportunities for 3D technologies in 2024 include a boost in government expenditure on advanced defense technologies, aiming to promote state-of-the-art weapons systems and secure lucrative contracts for the domestic defense industry. The demand for Additive Manufacturing systems, materials, and post-processing systems is expected to increase locally. In recent months, designers and creators have volunteered their time and resources to design and print 3D projects, providing rapid support to those on the front lines and aiding the rehabilitation of wounded civilians and soldiers. The knowledge gained during this period will be leveraged to develop larger-scale projects catering to diverse needs in the future.

NANO DIMENSIONS, a company with a significant amount of cash reserves, attempted to acquire STRATASYS in 2023 but was unsuccessful. Despite this, NANO DIMENSIONS will continue to pursue the deal and convince STRATASYS shareholders to agree to it. Both companies are headquartered in Rehovot, which is located within a short walking distance from each other. However, STRATASYS management prefers to maintain some distance from NANO DIMENSIONS. TRITONE Moldjet tech can handle diverse materials, but convincing the industry that green body production and sintering is a valid technology, like binder jetting, remains a challenge. MASSIVIT large format new AM system will be focusing more on mold and tools for the automotive, consumer products, and marine industries, with the Cast In Motion product line providing a unique value proposition for large tool fabrication. The technology company PTC has launched a research center for Additive Manufacturing at the Israel Institute of Technology, led by Dr. Ronen Ben Horin, an expert in AM with extensive industry experience.

Despite the uncertainties, 2024 presents immense potential for Israel’s hi-tech industry, and 3D technologies are poised to play a pivotal role in its continued success. By addressing challenges, embracing new trends, and capitalizing on the transformative power of 3D solutions, Israel can further solidify its position as a global tech leader and drive innovation across diverse sectors. The key lies in adaptability, collaboration, and a clear focus on the immense potential of the 3D revolution.

Gal Raz
Gal Raz is an additive manufacturing, and CAD expert with more than 25 years of experience, and a proven record of developing new markets for CAD and AM solutions. He has held senior positions in several additive manufacturing companies, including working as an AM specialist at Siemens, as GM at the largest AMC in SE Asia based in Singapore, and, as a manager in the largest AMC in Israel. Gal Raz is currently BD director for an AM system manufacturer and consults for several companies and research institutions. Furthermore, he has been publishing the 10x3D, a local AM newsletter published weekly since 2014.

By Benjamin Haller

Nordic Region’s Robust Expansion in Additive Manufacturing with New Investments and Networks

The Nordic region is experiencing continuing growth in Additive Manufacturing, driven by successful collaborations among various companies and networks. Sweden has pioneered this movement with AMEXCI, while Denmark and Finland have made strides with the DANISH AM HUB and the FAME network, respectively. Norway has recently accelerated its engagement, catching up with the establishment of NORWEGIAN AM in 2022 and AM NORTH in 2023, despite initially lagging behind its neighbors. The development is mainly driven by companies such as VÅR ENERGI from the oil and gas and maritime industry.

The 2023 FORMNEXT exhibition underscored the region’s mounting influence by featuring the Nordic Region as its partner, bringing 26 exhibitors from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The showcase included an array of participants from part manufacturing suppliers like AMEXCI, 3D STEP, and PROTOTAL to material suppliers such as SANDVIK and HÖGANÄS, as well as machine OEMs like FREEMELT and MINIFACTORY. The Danish AM Hub has now expanded to approximately 100 members, encompassing major OEMs such as LEGO, GRUNDFOS, and NOVONORDISK, alongside AM startups and SMEs.

After the Nordic countries are already at the forefront in the adoption of sustainability targets across many sectors, this has also been one of the main focus topics for the players in the Additive Manufacturing industry. Some examples for the strong focus include the CO2 calculator and related activities by the Danish AM Hub as well as Norwegian companies applying AM to optimize logistics and spare parts for the oil & gas industry.

In Sweden, significant investment projects into new AM facilities have been announced. A noteworthy development is GKN AEROSPACE’s £50 million investment in their Trolhättan facility, with the technology set to be operational in 2024. This advancement will aid in reducing raw material waste, lowering energy consumption, and streamlining shipping processes in the production of aircraft engine components. Another substantial investment into AM technology is AMEXCI in Örebro, SWEDEN. The initiative is backed by the existing AMECXI shareholders FAM, SAAB, SCANIA and ERICSSON and was so far focused on R&D and low-volume production with the goal of industrializing AM for its shareholders. The investment into a state-of-the-art facility with latest production technology is a proof that the companies are now moving into production.

Benjamin Haller
Benjamin Haller has supported companies in the adoption of Additive Manufacturing for over 7 years. He has worked for several equipment manufacturers, feedstock suppliers and end users of different metal and polymer technologies in Germany, Sweden and France. His current focus is on helping companies increase the use of AM by educating designers and other professionals via the AMPOWER Academy online learning platform and as an independent consultant.

By Dirk Herzog

R&D Developments in Europe

During 2023, strategic R&D within Europe has been shaped by a continuation of topics with respect to energy and manufacturing industry transformation. Some of the earlier initiatives such as the European Green Deal have been updated, enhanced and more specifically outlined in 2023, such as by the initiation of the Green Deal Industrial Plan, which is an instrument directed to match similar financial support to climate friendly industrial transformations introduced in the US and China.

While these plans obviously have a much broader focus and compile a variety of actions, Additive Manufacturing is still seen as a key enabling technology to achieve the political and societal goals set out within these programs. R&D funding is thus available through specific, application-oriented calls where AM can realize significant improvements to the performance and efficiency.

European initiatives are also broadly influenced from the tense global situation. The following two observations can be made:
Firstly, Europe is driving initiatives to get strategic and critical industries back to Europe to ensure its independence. This includes the production of batteries, electronics and semiconductors, and photovoltaics for instance. Adding more resilience on a political level, this also goes hand in hand with the green industry transformation. Until 2030, the European Commissions goal is to produce at least 40% of its own yearly photovoltaics modules demand locally; 60% of heat pumps, 85% of batteries and 50% of electrolyzers.

Secondly, Defense is necessarily getting more attention, and it is also more socially accepted than previously. The role of AM within defense is rapidly taking up, visible by various events bringing stakeholders from European defense forces, industry and AM together.

Towards the end of the year, German efforts for energy transformation have been hampered by a judgement of the Federal Constitutional Court with regard to a certain funding instrument. In consequence, a sum of 60 billion EUR is missing in the federal budget of Europe’s largest economy over the next couple of years. In practical terms this also affects a number of planned R&D projects from aerospace to marine sectors, which often included AM as a core innovation technology. More competition for funding thus comes on top of the skills gap which increasingly limits R&D and especially implementation of AM.

New ways to leverage industrial and scientific R&D as well as education activities are needed. This is for example realized by new network initiatives, such as currently under development in the metropolitan region of Hamburg, Germany – where over 80 AM players from industry and science are preparing a new hub for Industrialized Additive Manufacturing (IAMHH), which is supposed to materialize in early 2024.

Dr. Dirk Herzog
Dr.-Ing. Dirk Herzog has studied Mechanical Engineering at the Leibniz Universität Hannover. He started his career with the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. in 2002, leading the group ‘Cutting, Safety & Special Processes’ from 2005, and later the department ‘Materials and Processes’. He received the degree ‘Dr.-Ing.’ from the Leibniz Universität Hannover in 2008. After working for the Grant Advisory of Ernst & Young, he joined Hamburg University of Technology in 2011. He served in the Institute of Laser and System Technologies as senior engineer and held a substitute professorship in ‘Digitalization in the Design of Products and Processes’, before joining the Institute for Industrialization of Smart Materials as senior engineer. In parallel, he acts as Senior Project Manager in the Additive Academy of the Fraunhofer IAPT.

Data and sources

Published: 14 March 2024

Source: AMPOWER, authors as described

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