|In 3D printing, plastic, ceramic or metal powders are fused layer by layer using lasers until the desired shape is achieved. The process enables completely new, weight-saving structures that would not be possible with conventional techniques.
Although a printer can cost well over a million euros, the material is not cheap either. But “medical technology already earns good money with it,” said Tobias Stittgen of RWTH Aachen University. The Irish company Stryker, for example, has around 70 systems in operation today on which medical implants are manufactured.
Out of 900 companies surveyed, two thirds of German companies use 3D printing. In South Korea and China, the figure is already around 80 percent. “3-D printing is currently very popular in Asia. Especially in China, additive manufacturing is one of the clear priorities in economic policy strategy at the country level,” said Stefana Karevska of EY. “There is still a lot of testing going on in Germany – local companies have not yet become as involved in the use of end products as, for example, Asian companies.
The technology is actually wide enough for the application, said TÜV Süd manager Holger Lindner. However, many companies do not yet see a business model. But that is likely to change soon, the management consultants at EY expect. Every second company expects to be able to reduce its storage and transport costs through 3D printing in three years.
|anonymous||dpa/aerzteblatt, 09.Oct 2019 (german)|
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