What Are The Key Areas of Growth in Additive Manufacturing?

As the evolving world of additive manufacturing continues to grow, it can be a challenge to find the best talent to help your team continue to move forward. That’s where Alexander Daniels Global comes in. As experts in the field, we’re equipped with the necessary knowledge and experience to help you recruit top-tier candidates.

In this guide, we’ll explain some of the key areas of growth in the additive manufacturing space providing you with valuable insights in the additive manufacturing job market to stay ahead of the curve. Whether you’re looking to fill your next additive manufacturing role or want to make your next career move, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Additive manufacturing industry growth in 2022

When looking at industry adoption of additive manufacturing in 2022, there has been continued growth globally. However, there is still plenty of room for growth. In a study conducted by UltiMaker, 61% of businesses with the potential to use additive manufacturing are not currently adopting additive manufacturing processes, meaning there’s plenty of untapped potential to develop additive manufacturing practices across various industries.

Additive manufacturing is being adopted by more industries due to its increased flexibility, cost-effectiveness and innovation. Some of the industries which are benefiting the most from adopting additive manufacturing processes include;

  • Aerospace: Additive manufacturing makes it easier to produce lightweight and durable parts as and when they are needed.
  • Automotive: Additive manufacturing is being used by the automotive industry to create lighter and stronger car parts, which can help improve fuel efficiency.
  • Consumer products: 3D printing allows businesses to make more personal consumer products more flexibly such as phone cases, key chains and other consumer products.
  • Construction: Additive manufacturing can help construction workers create complex designs and building elements from unconventional materials. Meaning construction workers improve efficiency.
  • Dental: 3D printing allows advancements in the production of dental implants and orthodontic models.
  • Energy: Additive manufacturing has been beneficial for both renewable and un-renewable energy sources. Namely through the production of Photovoltaic material and in the creation of spare parts.
  • Robotics: Additive manufacturing in the robotics industry has enabled growth through quick prototyping and easily manufactured spare parts.
  • Medical: Growth in additive manufacturing in the medical industry includes the production of prosthetics and surgical instruments.

Where can we see additive manufacturing advancing in the future?

While the additive manufacturing industry is currently experiencing a period of exciting growth and innovation, the events of 2022 have raised concerns about the reliability of the supply chain and the quality of parts. While innovative and well-designed parts are impressive, their true value lies in meeting high-quality control standards.

As a result, organizations are taking steps to reevaluate their production processes with the aim of reducing the number of suppliers or steps in the supply chain. They are also choosing suppliers that are closer to home. Additive manufacturing can help to localize the supply chain – but this is only beneficial if the parts are high quality and durable.

Research and development are a key area of growth in Additive manufacturing, focusing on areas such as;

  • Tackling workforce shortages: The additive manufacturing industry is currently facing a shortage of skilled workers. Therefore, it’s important for companies to focus on attracting and retaining talent.
  • Mitigating supply chain risk: The just-in-time sourcing strategy that many manufactures adopted pre-pandemic has been permanently disrupted. Therefore, companies should consider building local capacity and creating redundancy in the supply chain to mitigate supply chain risks.
  • Advancements in materials: Researchers are working on developing 3D printed parts that are stronger, lighter and better performing than traditionally manufactured parts. Also in development are bioengineered organs for use in the medical industry.
  • Integration with other technologies: Advanced manufacturing and industry 4.0 are having an increased impact on additive manufacturing, with the development of smart factories and integration with the IoT, AI and machine learning. Digital technologies can provide a solution to some of the supply chain challenges as well as increase productivity and enhance connectivity with suppliers.
  • Increased efficiency: The development of faster printers will increase lead times and result in reduced costs. Localizing the supply chain is a key area of research and development.

How does this impact the job market for talent working in the additive manufacturing industry?

Impact on current events on the supply chain and job market

Over the last 12 months we have seen massive changes within the additive manufacturing industry. While we started 2022 full of optimism around growth in the industry as the world recovered from the pandemic – the war in Ukraine in 2022 caused many businesses to become much more cautious due to the sanctions on Russia and supply chain issues sourcing materials from Ukraine.

A recent survey by Deloitte found that 80% of surveyed manufacturing executives have experienced either a heavy or very heavy impact of disruption on their supply chains over the past 12 to 18 months. The ongoing supply chain disruption and shortage of critical materials have been highlighted by the industry as the biggest uncertainty by 72% of executives.

In the second half of the year the knock on effect of supply chain issues, increasing energy prices and caution from investors resulted in layoffs across the sector. Although, in 2023 we still anticipate growth in the sector especially in areas that have the potential to increase productivity and connectivity across different industries.

Challenge in hiring and retaining skilled workers

Despite layoffs in 2022, the manufacturing industry is still experiencing a shortage of skilled workers. This is listed as one of the top three challenges facing the additive manufacturing industry. This could result in a deficit of over 20,500 skilled workers in the US by 2030.

One of the ways the additive manufacturing industry can combat this is by growing the workforce by hiring new entrants into the industry and retaining the current labor market. Companies should lower barriers to entry, hire widely and be flexible to attract and retain employees. They could also invest in training and certifications to help support their employees reach their goals.   

Some of the approaches that companies can take to retain skilled workers include;

  • Salary increases: raising wages to compete with other industries that are increasing wages at a faster rate such as warehousing.
  • Upskilling and reskilling: Due to the shortage in skilled workers, it’s important to train workers in advanced technical and digital technologies.
  • DEI strategy: Focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion to attract a more diverse group of workers into the workforce will increase the pool of talent available.
  • Flexible work arrangements: Attractive work environments, including the introduction of the 4 day week and flexible working, can help to retain talent.

To explore the latest insights into hiring trends, industry predictions and comments from the experts and the current hiring landscape, download our additive manufacturing salary survey report today.

How can Alexander Daniels Global help?

Here at Alexander Daniels Global, we conduct direct sourcing through targeted headhunting to access inactive candidates, alongside our database and extensive network of active candidates. To put it simply, your additive and advanced recruitment needs can be seamlessly handled by our specialist team – putting the right candidates in front of you when you need them most.

Alternatively, if you’re working in the additive or advanced manufacturing industry, browse our career portal to apply for our varied open job vacancies.

For more information about how we can help, contact our team of expert recruiters today. We also have a wealth of HR resources, such as our annual salary survey, to help you stay on top of hiring trends.

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