3D printing (also know as additive manufacturing) is a 3D printing technology that is destined to change the way we live and transform almost every industry in the future. The process of 3D printing includes making three dimensional solid objects by using additive processes. These objects are created from digital files by laying down successive layers of material (which can be perceived as thinly sliced cross-sections of the object) until the whole object is created.
With this rate of innovation, rapid change, and steady flow of businesses, the technology's progression pace will only quicken. Looking from individual, business and manufacturing standpoints, in about 2 years from now, 3D printing will break through into mainstream. But why in 2021? Why not earlier? Well, there are few crucial developments in the industry which are predicted to culminate around that time.
Development #1 - Availability of High Speed HSS 3D Printing Technology
HSS (High Speed Sintering) in a new rapid manufacturing process. The technology, which combines the inkjet printer's powder bed fusion process, allows for fast manufacturing of multiple parts via rapid sintering process. It prints carbon black on top of a powder, which is situated on the print bed before an infrared lamp passes over, sintering the carbon black coated powder. The technology will be able to print at rates 10-100 times as fast as with today's current technologies. The first HSS machine is scheduled to come online in 2021, and the technology could revolutionize mass manufacturing.
Development #2 – Multi Jet Fusion Technology
HP plans to enter into the world of 3D printing by launching their first Multi Jet Fusion device. Their launch is set for the end of 2020, and they will be immensely faster than anything we can get our hands on today. In the year 2021, HP will most likely begin introducing new printer models that utilize the Multi Jet Fusion technology, and supply it to small and large businesses. In order to catch up with HP, current industry leaders, such as Stratasys and 3D Systems, are bolstering their research and development budgets, and working to present their competing products at least by early 2021. Hardcore competition is what sparks the innovation, and they will make future printing services a lot more interesting, don’t you agree?
Development #3 – The Peak of CLIP Technology
CLIP stands for Continuous Liquid Interface Production. It was presented by Carbon3D, a stealth startup which has attracted over $50 million from investors since March, and Alan Mullaly (a former Ford CEO) to their board of executives.
So, what does CLIP do? It utilizes oxygen and light to cure a photosensitive resin. It enables 3D object printing that is 25-100 times faster than current 3D technologies can perform. The release of first CLIP machines is scheduled for the middle of 2020. Carbon3D basically announced a technology which seems too good to be true, and they launched the first wave of innovations in the 3D arena.
All these companies (Stratasys, 3D Systems, voxeljet, and many others) are preparing for this, pretty much certain, wave of innovations to hit the market. However, none of them are actually established players in the industry. They strive for conquering the market and retaining the top position by improving old technologies and creating new ones.
The innovative teams of these companies will continue to improve 3D printers to a point where functional products will be their output. 3D printing will change the manufacturing forever, with effects of construction and sciences, art, waste reduction, and energy use. This technology could eventually change the nature of commerce, because when these machines become affordable and easily accessible to a wider auditorium, its users will be able to do their own manufacturing instead of products made by others.