Tue, Sep 20, 2016 - Page 11 News List

3D printing alliance set up to tap global market

SOLID GROWTH:With sales expected to reach US$20 billion by 2020, local developers are being encouraged to keep pace with the evolving 3D-printing market

Staff writer, with CNA

A 3D-printing alliance has been formed in a bid to explore the booming technology and stake a larger share of the global market, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院) said.

The ITRI pushed for the alliance by organizing several local 3D-related technology development groups, such as the Additive Manufacturing Association of Taiwan, the Taiwan Mold and Die Industry Association, and the Chinese Industrial Designers Association, to cover the upstream, midstream and downstream segments of the market.

The ITRI said that the alliance is expected to bring the technology to a wide range of applications, such as musical instrument production, auto parts manufacturing, artificial limb development and lighting device production, to seize growing business opportunities.

Citing an estimate by US-based advisory firm Wohlers Associates Inc, the institute said that global 3D-printing market sales totaled US$5.16 billion last year, up 26 percent from a year earlier, with the world’s leading 3D printing firms — EOS, SLM Solutions, Arcam and Concept Laser — posting sales increases of more than 35 percent.

Wohlers, which provides consulting services in 3D-printing technology development, expects sales to hit US$20 billion by 2020.

The ITRI is encouraging Taiwanese firms to speed up their 3D-printing development in molding, aviation and medical equipment manufacturing.

Tsao Fang-hai (曹芳海), head of the institute’s laser application center, said that the ITRI has laid a strong foundation in fused deposition modeling, powder bed fusion and laser metal deposition, which could become good tools for the local 3D printing industry to use in rolling out more hardware and software applications.

Tsao said that Taiwan boasts strong information and communications technology and a creative and thriving services sector, setting a solid growth base for the 3D-printing industry.

Tsao added that through the alliance, Taiwanese 3D-printing technology developers are expected to work together in cross-industrial applications.

In a ceremony to mark the establishment of the alliance, the ITRI and 19 other Taiwanese 3D-printing technology developers, such as Starmen Opto-Electronics Co (中詮微動) and Tongtai Machine & Tool Co (東台精機), also showcased their products.

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