Case Studies

3D printing


Large multinational manufacturing company


Technology scouting for making strategic investments in additive manufacturing


The purpose of this project was to investigate the opportunities for integrating additive manufacturing —the industrial version of 3D printing— in the company’s production line. Additive manufacturing was included in the list of 10 breakthrough technologies for 2013 that was published by the MIT Technology Review: “... because it can potentially make complex parts more cheaply, additive manufacturing could revitalize many advanced manufacturing sectors.” More specifically, this promising technique could yield added value through design for light-weighting and function, extreme customization and reduced time-to-market, to name but a few of its advantages. However, as it was still under development and some of its future applications remained unimaginable, we had to meticulously assess its maturity level and the ways it could best serve the company’s needs for rapid prototyping and assembly machines, prior to proceeding with a huge investment. For this reason, we analyzed the state-of-the-art, as well as the prevailing trends in the field, and identified trusted suppliers across the globe so that our client could, in due time, establish strategic partnerships to forge ahead in the category. At the same time, we formed a training curriculum so that manufacturing and design engineers were familiarized with the new technique and ready to adopt it at a transitional phase.