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Brad Kuvin Brad Kuvin
Editorial Director

Metal AM Looking Strong in 2021 and Beyond

February 5, 2021

In a recently issued letter to shareholders, Sigma Labs president and CEO Mark Ruport shares some glowing statistics that paint a very rosy picture of the additive manufacturing (AM) industry for many years to come. Among them: surveys predicting that more than 85 percent of the world’s largest manufacturers will increase their AM investments in 2021.

Many of the articles that have appeared in 3D Metal Printing (3DMP) over the years, and indeed in this issue, bear that out. Most recently, we shared the success stories of metal-AM investments being made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Enerpac, Cobra Aero, Ford Motor Co., Croft Filters, Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices, Lincoln Electric, Sharon Tuvia and RPG Industries.

In this issue of 3DMP, we bring you two more success stories of metal-AM investments, at service bureau Tronix3D, in Mt. Pleasant, PA, and railroad-industry OEM Wabtec, both are committed to leveraging metal-AM technology for production of end-use parts and are taking the steps required to get there.

“We set Tronix3D up to be a highly controlled, very reactive and very agile contract manufacturer,” notes company president Buck Helfferich, “able to match the speed of production offered by AM with a very controlled process.” His team has fine-tuned its processes to attain remarkably fine surface finishes. Most recently, the firm is partnering with the NCDMM AMNOW Program help develop a standard set of data to enable part certification for U.S. military projects. Check out the article.

For Wabtec’s part, new EPA regulations governing locomotive emissions have led the company to pioneer the use of EGR locomotive engines, and in the article you’ll learn of the critical role that metal-AM technology will play as Wabtec ramps up production.

Finally, HP's recently released Digital Manufacturing Trends Report supports what we’ve been reporting at companies such as Wabtec and Tronix3D—that companies are ramping up their investments in metal AM to increase their agility, speed and flexibility. Among key findings in the HP report:

  • Over the next 12 months, 71 percent of respondents plan to invest in digital manufacturing technologies, and 85 percent plan to increase their AM/3D printing investments.
  • Three-quarters of respondents say that AM/3D printing helps their company be more agile, is a viable alternative to traditional manufacturing, and is a backup to traditional manufacturing.

A Final Word

I am pleased to announce that 3DMP has a newly formed Editorial Advisory Board, comprised of service-bureau and association executives, and consultants. Their names are listed below, and we’re grateful for their support. They’ll advise us by identifying topics of interest and potential article ideas; help us to continue to develop a network of potential contributors/authors, as well as conference speakers; and periodically meet with us to evaluate our content to ensure it continues to meet the needs of our readers.

Industry-Related Terms: Surface
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms


See also: Sigma Additive Solutions



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