In 2017, additive manufacturing continued to push companies in new directions. From aerospace and medical to automotive and energy, additive manufacturing took center stage as companies sought to realize its potential innovation, financial and efficiency benefits.

While experimentation and early adoption have garnered attention and created a buzz about additive manufacturing this past year, the reality is that companies are still slowly finding their way. Boston Consulting Group noted in a recent study only 34% of U.S.-based manufacturing executives have implemented additive manufacturing practices within their companies. And, according to a UPS report, additive manufacturing represents only 0.04% of the global manufacturing market.

The reasons for the low adoption rates vary by industry, company size and product type. Initially embraced for rapid prototyping, companies now recognize the value in additive manufacturing for final production parts. A complement to traditional manufacturing processes, additive manufacturing is empowering companies to create products previously thought too complex. Primarily utilized for low-volume part production, additive manufacturing is increasingly becoming a valued part of the production process as its reliability improves daily.

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