AI can help almost every Additive Manufacturing value chain aspect, including material development, machine setup, component design, and workflow automation.

FREMONT, CA: The AM industry went through a difficult stretch in 2020, but it also acquired a new focus on manufacturing. The industry's continual development has us wondering what 2021 will bring.

Let's see some of the essential themes that will shape Additive Manufacturing's future development.

Increased focus on machine connectivity

Making Additive Manufacturing solutions (both software and hardware) easier to integrate and connect with the factory floor is one of the critical Additive Manufacturing developments we anticipate seeing in 2021.

Companies will need the ability to easily link their machines and software to their production environments as they build up their Additive Manufacturing operations. Using isolated solutions for a technology that requires connection is a dead-end for additive manufacturing.

Importantly, hardware makers are increasingly focusing on systems that get integrated with the manufacturing floor.

The continued convergence of AM and AI

Artificial intelligence ( AI )and machine learning (MI) are becoming increasingly important in the advancement of Additive Manufacturing. AI can help almost every Additive Manufacturing value chain aspect, including material development, machine setup, component design, and workflow automation.

As a result, one anticipates increasing integration of AI and Additive Manufacturing technologies in 2021. AI and machine learning will advance generative design, allowing new ideas to be entirely suited for the Additive Manufacturing process.

AM will drive distributed manufacturing.

As companies seek to future-proof their supply chains, many are exploring new supply chain models and technologies that will allow them to save costs and switch more easily between the items they produce.

Due to the requirement for more flexibility and agility, additive manufacturing will lead to a dispersed, localized production model.

Additive Manufacturing may drastically cut the number of steps necessary to create complicated metal or polymer forms, shorten lead times, and simplify the transition to digital inventory. For the dispersed manufacturing approach, these advantages make it particularly appealing.

The next wave of development in additive MES

Adopting digital manufacturing technologies such as additive manufacturing will eventually necessitate a software foundation to support Additive Manufacturing's development and scalability across the organization.

As a result, interest in Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) for additive manufacturing is growing. By automating essential operations, including order administration, production scheduling, and monitoring, MES software has made the Additive Manufacturing workflow more manageable.