Authors: Ruth Jianga,Robin Kleer,Frank T.Piller
 

Publisher: Elsevier BV
Contributors: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Terms of Re-use: CC-BY-NC-ND
Content Provider: ScienceDirect (Elsevier - Open Access Articles via Crossref)
 
Abstract
 
Additive manufacturing (colloquially: 3D printing) is a highly discussed topic. Previous research has argued that this technology not only has profound effects on manufacturing businesses but also on society, which demands new corporate strategies and policies alike. Thus, the development of reliable future scenarios is key for strategic planning and decision making as well as for future research. Dedicated academic studies in this field remain scarce. We present the results of an extensive Delphi survey on the future of additive manufacturing with a focus on its economic and societal implications in 2030. Via an initial round of extensive qualitative interviews and a Delphi-based analysis of 3510 quantitative estimations and 1172 qualitative comments from 65 experts, we were able to develop and validate 18 projections that were then clustered into a scenario for the most probable future. The scenario is built on the six Delphi projections with the highest consensus on the likelihood of occurrence. We complement this most probable scenario with a discussion on controversial, extreme scenarios. Based on these findings we derive implications for industry, policy, and future research.
 

Photo: Materials engineers made this one-piece rocket engine injector in just 40 hours in a sophisticated 3-D printing machine at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center's advanced manufacturing facility. It took months to manufacture the same part by welding multiple parts. Injector as it looked immediately after it was removed from the selected laser melting printer. (credits: NASA/MSFC / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0))

Photo: Materials engineers made this one-piece rocket engine injector in just 40 hours in a sophisticated 3-D printing machine at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center's advanced manufacturing facility. It took months to manufacture the same part by welding multiple parts. Injector after inspection and polishing. (credits: NASA/MSFC / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0))

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