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Editorial Formnext Magazine issue 01 2024

A place to call home in a multipolar world

Text: Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President Formnext, 15 Februar 2024

Judging by the various developments of regions and industries, the world seems to be taking on more and more of a multipolar character. Just look at India’s airlines, for example, which have ordered nearly 1,200 aircraft over the past 12 months – that’s more than twice as many as their counterparts in the United States, and more than 10 times the number ordered by German airlines. On average, India is projected to build a new airport every single month in the coming years. Things are literally taking off on the subcontinent, while in other countries – including Germany – the economic outlook has turned somewhat cloudy. Ongoing geopolitical dilemmas like the war in Ukraine and disruptions in supply chains have recently been joined by threats in international waters. The spectre of inflation also hasn’t been banished entirely.


These developments are also affecting the world of AM, of course, although market researchers are still predicting healthy growth for the industry as a whole. That said, additive manufacturing is actually something of a mixed (or perhaps “multipolar”) bag. While the most recent survey conducted by the German industry association VDMA revealed rather sober projections in AM and mechanical engineering (along with the expectation of industry consolidation), a variety of smaller and specialized AM manufacturers reported record sales.  

Either way, I don’t think anything will stop the continued advance of additive manufacturing. It’s enabling so many different sectors to gain so many different advantages – even if the road from material development to design and qualification is sometimes a long and winding one. With AM, companies can maintain a competitive edge even during economically challenging periods. 

For more proof of why additive manufacturing seems destined for long-term success, look no further than the outstanding registration numbers at Formnext. In this issue of Fon Mag, we’ve also explored a series of exciting topics that form the foundation for the technology’s further progress. Along with the challenges in material development, they include growth opportunities in Eastern Europe and the marine sector. You can also take part in our reader survey  to tell us what you prefer and help us stay even more in tune with the latest developments. 

Like the entire AM community, I’m very much looking forward to a thrilling 2024 – and to this year’s trade fair in November, of course! As the world becomes an increasingly multipolar place, Formnext in Frankfurt (and the corresponding brand events in China, Japan, and the United States) will continue to give the “fAMily” a home and help add to our industry’s already considerable success.

Sascha F. Wenzler
Vice President Formnext 


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