Charles R. Goulding and Preeti Sulibhavi have some thoughts about what might transpire in the world of 3D printing during 2022.
Our predictions for 3D printing in 2022 are in part a continuation of major 2021 3D printing events.
New 3D Printing Public Company Annual Disclosure
The numerous 3D printing companies that went public in 2021 will have their first public disclosure. The SEC-required level of detailed disclosure is going to give the industry much more transparency and a much better picture of the state of finances of major companies will be revealed.
Rapidly Expanding Electric Vehicle (EV) Industry
The EV industry is ramping up with huge new capital investments. Some of the companies to watch are Rivian, Ford, and Magna. We have covered how the EV industry is leveraging 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM) technology for various purposes including building in-house prototypes in a matter of days and using 3D scanners to provide CAD files with precise geometry enabling more accurate integration into vehicles (Magna has been particularly focused on this).
Projects are commencing and we expect to see the construction equipment business, including Caterpillar and Deere, benefit along with solar and wind. 3D printing can play a major role in advancing this initiative.
With Covid continuing its spread, outdoor sports should remain popular, including boating, golf, and pickleball. This is the time to explore the great outdoors and 3D printing can come along, likely in ways we did not expect.
Apparel 3D Printing
During the last two years, the apparel industry accelerated its 3D printing knowledge because for the first time it saw the production of large volumes of PPE products such as masks, gloves and gowns. Now, mainstream retailers are embracing 3D printing in both mainstream markets including, Zara, Levi’s, and luxury markets such as Gucci.
Aerospace Industry-Wide 3D Printing Usage
The aerospace industry including general aviation, helicopters, drones, and space remain very strong 3D printing markets. Metal additive manufacturing has become a standard choice in this segment, and it will certainly increase in use during 2022.
Desktop Metal Digestion or Indigestion
While still in the process of developing its own core metal 3D printing business, Desktop Metal made a series of major and quite varied acquisitions. Coordinating them to achieve synergies could be a management hurdle that could challenge even the best management teams.
With further delayed office openings and expanded remote working opportunities, some home workspaces do require 3D printers for prototyping & engineering work, furniture and task lighting. Remote working arrangements are providing the need for new 3D printing offerings.
Construction 3D Printing
Construction 3D printing technology has evolved and is now emerging as a viable solution for the global housing need. Kerry Stevenson, Founder and Editor of Fabbaloo, has recently written about Danish headquarter COBOD’s large residential project in Kenya. We have written about projects in Mexico and described the accomplishments of Swiss-based SIKA. We recently interviewed Kirk Andersen, the COO of Long Island, New York-based, SQ4D and also wrote about concrete housing for Tornado resiliency.
The Research & Development Tax Credit
The now permanent Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit is available for companies 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.
We have a lot to look forward to in 2022, whether it is in the fight to battle COVID-19, or the advancements in 3D printing technologies that will hopefully continue. We have shared our predictions for 2022. Let’s see where we are at this time next year.