2018 in 3d printing reviewed by Nick Pearce

2018 in review by director Nick Pearce

I set Alexander Daniels Global up almost four years ago now. I don’t think I can quite call myself a veteran of the industry yet, but I have watched how the industry is evolving and starting to mature. I think the word ‘mature’ is quite apt to describe how I interpreted Additive Manufacturing in 2018.

There have been a few false dawns before, led primarily by the theory that there would be a 3D Printer in every home. I still believe that will be the case.

I do envision a World where we will be able to print on-demand a spare part for our washing machine that has broken down.

Actually, our smart home, managed by Artificial Intelligence, will automatically tell our 3D Printer to print the part, it knows is about to breakdown and a Service Robot will already have been called to replace it. We won’t have to do anything and the performance of our washing machine will be seamless.

I digress a little with my view of the future, so back to why I feel 2018 saw Additive Manufacturing mature. There seemed to be a reality arising that post processing was an essential and inevitable part of the total process. While this is nothing new, it appeared like, with the proliferation of binder jetting technologies, with new introductions from companies like HP, post processing became more acceptable to achieve the desired application and required part qualities. Organisations started to talk more about production systems and not just printers. The complete manufacturing solution was described by EOS at Formnext where CEO Dr Keppler said, “It’s not just about the hardware…. <>…. knowledge of materials, software, quality and processes.”

Additive Manufacturing has been widely used in R&D within sectors like Aerospace and Medical. For an ever-increasing number of applications, it is now being used in production, but still at reasonably low volumes. However, another reason why Additive Manufacturing ‘matured’ in 2018 is big Automotive OEM’s like Daimler and VW started to talk more seriously about Additive Manufacturing for production. When Automotive gets involved, then high scale, volume production, at the lowest cost is essential. With this intent, the opportunity for Additive Manufacturing is huge both in plastics and metals.

There remain some challenges for the industry though, notably talent. I would say that given I run a recruitment company specialising in hiring talent for the industry. However, the problem remains and it is not one that can be solved by recruitment alone.

I had a conversation with a major Automotive OEM who highlighted their need to retrain at least 1000 engineers if they are to achieve their strategic objectives with additive. There has been a growth of learning and development for the industry but it remains fragmented, difficult to assess and frankly is often delivered in uninspiring formats. For the industry to really achieve it’s potential over the next decade, organisations need to invest heavily into upskilling and training and think differently about how to engage a new audience outside Additive Manufacturing.

2019 is set to be an exciting year. As we release our third annual salary survey, I remain hugely passionate about the evolution of this disruptive technology and the people working hard to change the way we design and manufacture.

I hope you enjoy reading through it and can take something useful away. As always, we welcome your feedback, so please contact me directly with any questions, comments or ideas we might want to think about for next year.

Yours Faithfully

Nick Pearce

Founder & Director

4 reasons why you could be losing your talented additive manufacturing workforce

4 reasons why you could be losing your talented additive manufacturing workforce

Do you think you are losing your additive manufacturing workforce? Your workforce is one of your greatest assets in your business so it is important to understand their key motivators and also drivers that cause them to leave. Here are 4 key reasons why you could be loosing your most talented Additive Manufacturing workforce.

1. A Lack Of Understanding Of Your Employees’ Career Aspirations

In today’s fast-paced and competitive employment landscape, beyond just the Advanced Manufacturing industry, all professionals have their own personal goals and ambitions. These maybe small-scale such as simply becoming even more competent in a skill that an employee already has, or on a larger scale such as wishing to acquire more responsibility and stepping into a management position. Whatever an employee’s professional objectives are, you should be aware of it, since this insight can add value to your business.

How? Employees don’t want to feel like their job is just their job- something they do everyday. The thought of going to work should fill them with enthusiasm, their work should stem from their passion and interests aligned to the tasks of their position. Therefore having an understanding of how you can assist them in ensuring that they remain motivated to achieve more and succeed within their position will be greatly appreciated by any employee.  This also adds to fostering an open and collaborative culture, where employees feel that they can openly speak about any issues, concerns, or thoughts with their seniors.  Additionally, it will give you an overview of factors, even trending and common aspects amongst your work force that points towards areas of improvements to be made in your employee retention strategy. For example, it  could be the case that a few of your employees mention that they don’t feel challenged enough in their position- something which they include in their professional goals to achieve, or maybe  an individual feels that their responsibilities are expanding yet not in the direction in which they wish to take within the company. Therefore again, having an understanding of and taking action on your employees aspirations will demonstrate they you value their work.

2. Not empowered to innovate

Every employee who is truly invested in their position and the company they work for often feels empowered.  Empowerment is giving your employees the power to do something, the level of control they desire within their position and the confidence to suggest things. Of course there are structures and boundaries but giving the opportunity for employees to have a say in a decision that affects their work environment is really valued by the work force. Furthermore, taking the time out of your schedule to sit down and conduct an appraisal with each employee allows them to not only speak about what they desire but also enable you to  gain valuable suggestions on areas to improve the efficiency or operation of your business. After all, suggestion to change is never a bad thing

3. Routine Jobs

Every employee appreciates the responsibilities of their position, yet working on a relatively narrow-set of repeated tasks everyday can become boring. It is therefore important to understand how you as an employer can keep your employees motivated and engaged in their position: enabling them to conduct their daily tasks but also add a level of spontaneity or change every now and then to their job. For example, this might be giving an opportunity for an employee to work on a project of a slightly different nature to what they are used to, which would still require their skills set, or taking into consideration and giving the autonomy to an  employee to try and approach a particular project in a different way.

4. Focus on specialization and not cross functionality in a position

Organizations are too focused on specialization and not enough attention is on cross-functional roles that enable professionals within a company to have a general overview of the projects they are working on. This lack of understanding can affect the inter-team dynamics and ability to see how the work that your employee does adds value to the business. The limited transfer of knowledge between employees can therefore reduce the ability of the business to grow. Additionally, there is an element of risk for the business when an employee with very specific expertise leaves the business and takes that knowledge with them, leaving a knowledge gap in the workforce.

The four points highlighted above are limiting AM companies’ capability of keeping the AM knowledge in-house and hence affecting the medium/long term success potential of the business.

Alexander Daniels Global are specialists in the arena of Talent in Advanced Manufacturing and 3D Printing, if you would like to learn and understand more about how the industry, and more specifically our business can overcome the challenges of identifying, engaging, and retaining AM talent  then get in touch with us.

Let us help and guide you

At Alexander Daniels Global, we are specialized in recruitment for the additive manufacturing industry. If you have any questions or if there is anything you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to reach out to us – we are happy to help!

5 questions to ask before engaging with a recruiter

5 questions to ask yourself before engaging with a recruiter

The talent shortage in the 3d printing and advanced manufacturing industry leads companies to collaborate with recruitment partners in order to secure the right talent. But how do you know you’re choosing the right recruitment partner to work with?

These are 5 factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right recruitment partner for you.


This is most likely the most important qualification for a recruitment company.

Today’s workplace demands specialist skills, and recruitment companies that focus on particular skills have access to a vast pool of candidates with the most in-demand skills. The specialised recruitment firms understand your hiring needs which allows you to be confident that the candidates they present meet or exceed the requirements of the role


You can tell a lot about a recruitment partner from which companies they have worked with previously; it will help you get an idea whether the company has experience with clients of your size, type and hiring need.


A good recruiter will add value to your hiring process and handle the heavy lifting for you, while continuously keeping you up to date so they only present candidates who meet your unique needs. Take time to understand their process, and ask questions like how long it will take to have a shortlist; how many professionals will be included; and what evaluations will be performed by the recruiter.


A low internal turnover is a strong signal that the recruiters in the company are in it for the long run, and has earned a deep knowledge of the industry and the trends – crucial for being able to recruit top professionals.


You will want to partner with a recruitment company that knows the trends and recruiting issues in the industry. They should be enlightened in all aspects of the industry to be able to provide you with the best possible candidates and address the issues at hand, while guiding your HR in strategic hiring.

Let us help and guide you

At Alexander Daniels Global, we are specialized in recruitment for the additive manufacturing industry. If you have any questions or if there is anything you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to reach out to us – we are happy to help!