The Regional Additive Manufacturing Partnership of Maryland hosted a legislative breakfast for local, state, and federal elected officials and policy makers to learn about the latest developments in additive manufacturing on December 12, 2017. A brief continental breakfast and networking session took place, followed by presentations by industry experts and a business roundtable discussing the newest developments in additive manufacturing. Download the agenda and read ahead here: Legislative breakfast Read-ahead (pdf opens in new window).
Additive manufacturing is an important technology sector for Maryland; not only is additive an important technology for product developers across all industries, it is a catalyst for growth for other sectors of great importance to Maryland, like bio-medical and biohealth. RAMP MD established in 2014 to help additive manufacturing industry in Maryland expand. To do this, RAMP MD holds Symposia, and creates private-public partnerships between industry and government organizations. See an overview presentation of RAMP MD: Legislative Breakfast RAMP overview (pdf opens in new window).
The field of additive manufacturing is poised for enormous growth and ability to transform manufacturing as we know it. Nationally, the additive manufacturing market has grown from $1B in 2012, to $8.8B in 2017, and is expected to grow to $26.5B in 2021. Read an industry report here: State of 3DP 2017_1 (pdf opens in new window).
However, growth is restrained by several technological limitations:
- Additive manufacturing tends to be a slow and costly process, but there are new advancements that are solving this problem and getting us closer to widespread adoption. Lester Hitch, EOS of North America, presented new hardware and software developments.
- Plastics are widely used in additive manufacturing, but other materials are in development and necessary for wide-spread application. Researchers are developing new materials and processes in this area. Kyu Cho, of Army Research Lab, discussed research taking place in materials science.
- Manufacturers need personnel with specific skills in 3D printing and CAD/CAM. Community colleges are stepping up with specific certifications and pathways into these lucrative careers. David Antol, of Harford Community College outlined their new pathway and the partnership with industry to develop it.
Small businesses use additive manufacturing in a variety of ways. Most manufacturers use it in combination with traditional manufacturing methods. Statistics who that most manufacturers are using it to create prototypes and for new product development. Some biohealth applications include personalized medicine. Industry experts suggest that as technological limitations are removed, 3D printing will be able to be increasingly used for mass production. This will signal a huge leap forward for the industry and will lead to rapid transformation of manufacturing as a whole. The day’s discussion wrapped up with dialogue with several manufacturers about how they use additive manufacturing and where opportunities exist for it to be an important vector for Maryland’s economic growth. Representatives from SURVICE, RPM Tech, Root3 Labs, CIMquest, Repliform, and DWE Plastics participated in the roundtable discussion.
Read a white paper on RAMP MD’s role in Maryland’s additive manufacturing community: RAMP MD’s role in developing Additive Manufacturing in Maryland (pdf opens in new window).