Charles R. Goulding and Valentina Alzate countdown their top ten 3D print developments for 2022.
2022 has been an eventful year to say the least. Global and domestic factors have had a deep effect on the state of the US and wider global economy, while also opening the door for the adoption of new technologies and processes to address changing needs. Below is a summary of what we believe are the top 10 3D printing developments of 2022.
#10: Metaverse and NFTs
The metaverse has become a heavily discussed topic, as well as a foundation for technical innovation which has only expanded within 2022. We recently discussed the rise of hybrid virtual and physical experiences in which 3D printing could soon become a major player.
#9: Software Advancements and 3D Printing
Software advancement and innovation is critical to the expansion and adaptation of 3D printing. Previously discussed routes for software innovation include the expected development of an extensive 3D printing suite by Adobe and Stratasys, as well as significant advances by popular 3D print slicing packages.
#8: Drones and 3D Printing
We previously wrote about the use of 3D printing to facilitate the production of several drone components. The efficient production of these parts through 3D printing could reduce the cost and time of production of drones, a technology which is being applied to several efforts, including reforestation.
#7: 3D Printing Advancements and Concrete
3D printed homes and 3D construction printing are hot topics within the 3D printing sphere, with multiple high-profile projects now underway. The application of these technologies could help address critical issues, such as the lack of affordable housing. COBOD and ICON have made strides to expand the application of 3D printing to construction by developing innovative technologies which could leverage ready-mix concrete.
#6: Supply Chain Issues and 3D Printing
Supply chain issues have been a serious concern for several industries in 2022. We wrote about KB Home and their inability to obtain home features like windows on time. Increased demand for HVAC products has caused a backlog in available products. Additive manufacturing has served as a tool to address these supply chain issues and will increasingly so in the future.
#5: Applications of 3D Printing Globally
The advancement and application of 3D printing technology has been a global phenomenon. Korean company, Doosan, has worked to apply 3D printing in the production of parts for fighter jets. Future prospective applications of 3D printing can also be found in Mexico and Poland.
#4: Mergers/Acquisitions and their effects on 3D Printing Applications
Mergers between industry leaders normally lead to extensive innovations due to expanded expertise and capabilities. The establishment of several mergers and acquisitions in 2022 could lead to greater 3D printing opportunities. Some of those previously discussed include the Herman Miller and Knoll Merger, as well as the KKR and Raleigh Bike acquisition.
#3: Applications of 3D Printing in Healthcare
This year involved significant news for the application of 3D printing to the human body. Researchers like Dr. Yunbin Wang have experimented with platelets to prevent the rejection of 3D printed components. We also studied the consequences of rushing the use of these 3D printed components, as was the case with Dr. Paolo Macchiarini. Hospitals like HSS in NYC have successful treated patients with custom 3D printed solutions. Possible intersections of human digital twinning and 3D printing medical applications have also been explored.
#2: Applications of 3D Printing for Combat
As noted above, drones have become a widely used and explored technology that has been applied to several industry needs. The use of 3D printing technology for the components of military grade drones could be used to aid overseas efforts in the Ukraine. Other areas which could make use of 3D printing include shipbuilding for military efforts, as well as in military combat.
#1: R&D in 3D Printing
As shown above, innovation has been significant for the 3D printing industry, with a number of entirely new 3D printing processes emerging during the year. We previously discussed the R&D profiles of several leading 3D printing companies in 2022. Nano Dimension has spent millions on R&D, and 4 of the largest 3D printing focused companies have reached a “3-year average spending of US$225M” for R&D.
The Research & Development Tax Credit
The now permanent Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit is available for companies and startups developing new or improved products, processes and/or software.
3D printing can help boost a company’s R&D Tax Credits. Wages for technical employees creating, testing and revising 3D printed prototypes can be included as a percentage of eligible time spent for the R&D Tax Credit. Similarly, when used as a method of improving a process, time spent integrating 3D printing hardware and software counts as an eligible activity. Lastly, when used for modeling and preproduction, the costs of filaments consumed during the development process may also be recovered.
Whether it is used for creating and testing prototypes or for final production, 3D printing is a great indicator that R&D Credit eligible activities are taking place. Companies implementing this technology at any point should consider taking advantage of R&D Tax Credits.