Tech stocks are some of the most popular investments today, but while big dollars are being pumped into consumer technology, there’s a large funding gap in the advanced manufacturing market.
Filling this void, particularly for additive manufacturing (AM), will take commitment from private organizations and the government to educate investors about potential gains within the complex $65 billion manufacturing tech sector.
AM technology’s complexity, high capital requirements, and interdisciplinary value chain are among the largest reasons for certain financial shortcomings.
“Cycle times for AM innovation are much faster than other manufacturing technologies have been historically,” says Dayton Horvath, Director of Emerging Technology and Investments at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing. “AM is advancing so quickly that companies looking to use the technology struggle to keep up with the rapid pace of technical improvements.”
The greatest needs for investment are in the commercialization steps technology readiness levels 4 through 7, when there’s a transition from proof-of-concept to repeatable performance in an end-use application.
“The cost to get the material, machine processes, inspection processes, and the software to work together seamlessly is immense,” says David Burns, Principal and Founder at Global Business Advisory Services. With AM, we have a giant leap to make, and the aggregate price tag to do it around the world will be many billions of dollars.”
But who is going to fill that gap? It’s likely going to take a coalition of forces both governmental and private. In May, the Biden administration announced the AM Forward initiative as a way to boost 3D printing technology by small and medium-sized manufacturers and a path to more resilient supply chains, increased U.S. competitiveness, and good-paying jobs.
With AM Forward as an example initiative, it’s clear that awareness across the manufacturing technology community is a crucial step towards addressing AM industry challenges. That community will gather this Sept. 12-17 at IMTS 2022 – The International Manufacturing Technology Show, which is owned and produced by AMT at Chicago’s McCormick Place, and will feature a wide range of AM displays and events.
AM technologies will be exhibited throughout all four buildings of the show with a high concentration in the West Building featuring the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion and the AM4U Area, presented by Formnext, which is a live learning space on industrial AM adoption. You’ll also find AM software, controls, robotics, and hybrid technologies in the East, North, and South Buildings.
A must-visit exhibit includes AMT’s Emerging Technology Center focusing on forward-thinking manufacturing driving outer space projects for long-term presence on the moon and deep space exploration. You’ll:
- Walk through one section of a life-size 3D-printed lunar habitat.
- Learn about the software used to design and print the habitat.
- See a live additive cell printing and milling a prototype lunar habitat door.
- View profiles of two future-facing projects: Rosie, a lunar habitat structure for research and lunar living; along with the Giant Magellan Telescope, the most powerful telescope on earth and the innovative ground-breaking work done in the building of it.
As AM in the United States has proven an effective way to engage the younger workforce, elevate the perception of the manufacturing industry, and alleviate shortages, it is seen as part of the solution for healthier supply chain. To that end, AMT is hosting two new events:
- The Smarter Sourcing Symposium offers panel discussions on new tools and proven techniques for leaner, more agile, more profitable domestic sourcing.
- IMTS Investor Forum, a guided curated tour of IMTS 2022 featuring emerging tech including AM to increase awareness of the financial opportunities they present.
Explore more about IMTS 2022 at IMTS.com or Register now for IMTS 2022.