Three-quarters of SMEs to use 3D printing by mid-2020, survey finds
18 September 2018
SMEs using new forms of printing to explore new manufacturing strategies and techniques (70%), reduce costs (56%) and to incorporate into product development (80%)
According to new research commissioned by Ricoh Europe, three-quarters of Europe’s small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) will use 3D printing technology by mid-2020.
The study, conducted on behalf of Ricoh by Coleman Parkes, found 44 per cent of the 2,370 SMB leaders surveyed from across 23 countries – including Ireland – have already invested in 3D printing. An additional 30 per cent plan to invest over the next two years.
Adapt and experiment quickly
A total of 70 per cent of the businesses adopting 3D printing plan to use it to explore new manufacturing strategies and techniques. And 56 per cent plan to use the technology to reduce the cost of storage, shipping and materials by printing products for customers on-demand.
To adapt and experiment quickly in response to changing customer demands, 80 per cent of businesses are also planning to incorporate 3D printing into their product development cycles.
Gary Hopwood, managing director, Ricoh Ireland, said: “New forms of print are levelling the playing field for SMEs. By helping to mitigate production and development issues, smart organisations are using 3D printing to remove some of the key obstacles they often encounter within their supply chains or when competing with larger rivals. This is critical for any firm looking to scale and establish a stronger presence in the market.”
Rewards of investing in new forms of printing technology
The rewards of investing in new forms of printing technology, such as 3D printing, are already paying off. 69% of those surveyed say printing plays a fundamental role in their organisation’s ability to capitalise on new opportunities.
Furthermore, 65 per cent believe new forms of printing technology help their organisation overcome customer and supplier challenges, with 71 per cent saying new printing technology helps their business run more efficiently.
“3D printing, or additive manufacturing as we refer to it at Ricoh, reduces the amount of resources needed to make products as wastage is minimised – ideal for environmentally conscious businesses. As more SMBs turn towards 3D printing and other types of printing technology to establish an edge on their competition, those which do not are exposing themselves to the risk of being left behind.”
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