The Future Trends of Additive Manufacturing in Europe

The market for additive manufacturing is clearly showing its potential, as new trends have emerged in recent years. We can always expect new developments, trends and opportunities in additive manufacturing technology. CECIMO, European Association of Machine Tool Industries, and Related Manufacturing Technologies conducted the European Additive Manufacturing Survey this year to identify the top trends in AM within Europe. This survey is six months long and aims to identify major trends in the additive manufacturing industry. The assessment of companies in the additive industry will help to accomplish this. CECIMO is collaborating with VDMA, Germany’s Engineering Federation, to get as much data possible.

This report on trends across Europe is divided into two sections. The first shows the results from the CECIMO survey, which was combined with the VDMA study. The first part asks about your expectations, while the second is about actual sector development. The data in the second section only includes data from countries that have used the CECIMO survey. The two parts discuss topics such as trends, but also show data from countries that use the CECIMO survey. They include information about investments, statistics on machinery and materials, exports and customers from various industries like aerospace or automotive.

Comparatively to spring 2022’s survey, domestic market expectations have increased (Image: CECIMO).

In Europe, the AM Sector is experiencing exciting trends

CECIMO differentiates the trends between the domestic market and the foreign market. If we look at the respective domestic market, according to the survey carried out, it is noticeable that a slight increase in the market growth of the domestic market is expected by around 50% of the respondents, whereas just 6% of respondents expect a decline – this has also decreased compared to the last survey carried out. The outlook for the domestic market’s growth has become more optimistic. Similarly, if we look at the foreign market according to the survey, this year’s results show that especially in contrast to the last survey conducted, respondents have a more positive outlook on the growth of the AM market. 47% believe that orders and exports from overseas will rise in the next six-months. 47% predict that foreign orders will continue to increase, while 6% of respondents expect an increase in foreign orders. CECIMO states, in summary, that this is a sign of stronger foreign demand in Europe and an ever-increasing optimism at additive manufacturing companies.

When asked how the respondents assess the order situation in their own market in the next six months – especially in comparison with the previous six months – optimism is evident, indicated by the fact that the percentage expectations in all AM categories (products/manufacturing parts, machines, materials and services) are higher than before. CECIMO surveys indicate that the AM products category and manufacturing parts will experience the greatest growth. Fully 52% of respondents expect growth, while 1% anticipate a decrease. This is particularly encouraging, as it was only 16% in the Spring 2022 poll. The remaining 36% anticipate the same results. Although it may seem obvious, AM machinery is the second-best category. After a small decline in the spring 2022, this has now increased again. This also indicates positively that only 1% expects a decline of incoming orders. This will be a boon for AM machines manufacturers in particular.

The survey respondents found the AM machine category to be extremely promising. (Photo credit: CECIMO).

AM Industry Expects a Boost in Investments

If we compare this year’s survey on additive manufacturing trends in Europe, more companies stated that they expect an increase in future investments (36%), but also more companies think that a decrease will happen (9%). CECIMO is positive and believes that this positive investment growth will continue, especially considering the market’s strength and previous growth. CECIMO also asked for opinions about future exports. It can be summarized as follows: More foreign/export orders will be expected. Similar to domestic market forecasts, this trend is similar: fewer respondents are worried about the foreign/export market while more are expecting an increase. AM service providers are expected have the highest order growth, with a positive ratio of 59%.

The survey asked respondents to rate the order numbers and trends in Europe for materials. We see strong growth in comparison to the spring 2022 survey. However, there are different trends. Composite materials experience a slight drop in order predictions. Metals come in second with 60%. Only 1% of respondents anticipate a decrease in orders in the next six-months. Concerning ceramics as a material to make AM, there is a consensus that there will be an increase in this area. This is compared to the 12% who gave a different forecast in the previous survey.

Graph showing popularity prediction of additive manufacturing metals

Only 1% of those working in the metals and materials industry expect a decrease (Image: CECIMO).

The order intake by customer segment is also discussed in CECIMO’s report on trends in AM in Europe. In summary, it can be said that the percentage balance in the aerospace, mechanical engineering and chemicals & pharmaceuticals sectors has improved strongly and the respondents expect better business in this area. The aerospace sector is particularly noteworthy, with a positive percentage that rose from 7% up to 37%. This represents the highest measured value since the survey began. Respondents are less confident about the automotive sector, where the positive growth balance has decreased from 41% to 28%. Although order expectations for this sector remain high, respondents are not as optimistic about it as they were before. CECIMO cites the increasing supply problems and challenges as a reason for the current trend in Europe. The sector’s last survey regarding AM orders from the pharmaceutical and chemical sector showed a positive expectation value. However, this positive result is outweighed by the fact this expectation for orders in additive manufacturing is still lower than 2020 and 2021 levels.

The overall impression of this report and individual respondents’ attitudes to AM trends across Europe can still be considered positive, especially when you compare it to other surveys. Click HERE to find out more about AM trends.

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*Cover photo credits: CECIMO