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What is Additive Manufacturing?

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is a diverse set of technologies where products are created by building layers of material on top of another until a complete 3D object is formed. Additive Manufacturing is already demonstrating its potential to revolutionise the way products are designed, manufactured and supplied. Additive Manufacturing is already transforming the way some companies manufacture their products and has the potential to put the UK at the forefront of global manufacturing.

Additive Manufacturing is not new; this ground-breaking technology has been used for 'rapid prototyping' within sectors such as automotive and for tooling for more than 30 years. However, rapid development of the technology means that Additive Manufacturing is now becoming reality for end-use parts and tooling across a range of sectors, from aerospace to construction, as companies seek to take advantage of design freedoms, product performance enhancements and waste reductions that can be achieved with Additive Manufacturing.

The worldwide market for all Additive Manufacturing products and services is estimated to be worth over £6bn in 2017, growing to £20bn by 2022. In 2017 the UK had a 5% market share, and as a worldwide leader in High Value Manufacturing (HVM) the UK has strong foundations to expand its share of this global market opportunity resulting in new job creation and a significant increase in Gross Value Added (GVA). Source: Additive Manufacturing UK National Strategy 2018-2025.

Key opportunities for the UK include: Direct revenues from the production of Additive Manufacturing components; Creating a robust UK supply chain for AM part manufacture; Provision of best in class process chain equipment and services to the worldwide Additive Manufacturing market.

Find out more about this approach to manufacturing components through the information on the below pages.