Essentium’s Research Reveals 3D Printer Manufacturers’ Missed Opportunity

By on July 20th, 2023 in news, research

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Using a HSE industrial 3D printer [Source: Essentium]

New research from Essentium points out a key marketing strategy that most 3D printer manufacturers are not using.

Essentium produces industrial 3D printers capable of using a wide variety of standard or custom materials, typically for the production of end-use parts. The company seems highly sensitive to the needs of their clients, and as such often undertakes surveys to learn more. Today they’ve released the results of one of those surveys.

This particular survey focuses on CO2 emissions, something not often considered when using 3D printers.

Or so we thought. Essentium explains:

“As companies grapple with supply chain challenges, a growing number are adopting sustainable manufacturing approaches, including recyclable materials, reduced energy consumption, and more. The research, commissioned by Essentium, reveals that 94% of manufacturers are actively engaged in initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, with 53% reporting mature and strategic programs in place.”

That is an incredibly high percentage, and that’s obviously good to see — the environment needs as much help as we can give it. It turns out these activities are also beneficial:

“The study highlights that 86% of manufacturers with carbon reduction initiatives report positive impacts from this technology. Manufacturers cite numerous benefits, including reduced waste (40%), shorter supply chains (36%), elimination or minimization of overruns (33%), decreased carbon footprint for parts transportation (31%), lower overall carbon emissions (30%), streamlined logistics requirements (28%), and optimized storage footprints (27%).”

But what about the 3D printing aspects? Does 3D printing contribute to the solutions?

Essentium writes:

“The study further reveals that almost all [98%] of manufacturers consider 3D printing vital for their carbon reduction initiatives, underscoring the significant role this technology plays in driving positive environmental change.”

This is an astounding percentage. It suggests that basically ALL manufacturers believe use of 3D printers can help reduce carbon emissions, which is certainly true.

Here’s my question: if this is a commonly held belief, why are so few 3D printer manufacturers touting their equipment’s ability to reduce CO2 emissions?

Here at Fabbaloo we see a great deal of marketing material from providers seeking to promote their 3D printing equipment. Occasionally — very occasionally — there is mention of environmental benefits. Most of the time the marketing material focuses on speeds, costs, etc. The standard specifications. No mention of CO2.

I have a feeling that there are many 3D printer manufacturers missing the boat here: the audience is clearly looking, and looking strongly, for CO2 reduction solutions.

3D printer marketing campaigns should at the very least mention this capability, if not highlight it strongly. My suspicion is that Essentium, among others, will make this observation and tweak their marketing going forward.

Another step that may help is the introduction of some type of standard by which CO2 emissions could be measured for this environment. In other words, transform the words about CO2 emissions into a specification that allows comparison between equipment options.

Certainly there are many ways to measure CO2 emissions, and they’re based not only on the equipment used, but the frequency of use, materials, and processes used by the operator. Nevertheless, CO2 is produced and can be measured.

Everyone should try their best to reduce CO2 when possible, and this survey clearly shows the importance seen by industry.

Via Essentium

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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