There is a general concern that the U.S. manufacturing industry has lost competitiveness with other nations. Additive manufacturing may provide an important opportunity for advancing U.S. manufacturing while maintaining and advancing U.S. innovation. Additive manufacturing is a relatively new process where material is joined together layer by layer to make objects from 3-D models as opposed to conventional methods where material is removed.
The U.S. is currently the primary user of additive manufacturing technology and the primary producer of additive manufacturing systems. Globally, an estimated $642.6 million in revenue was collected for additive manufactured goods with the U.S. accounting for an estimated $468.9 million or 72.9% of global production in 2011.
Change agents for the additive manufacturing industry can focus their efforts on three primary areas to advance this technology: cost reduction, accelerating the realization of benefits, and increasing the benefits of additive manufacturing. Significant impact on these areas may be achieved through the reduction in the cost of additive manufacturing system utilization, material costs, and facilitating the production of large products.