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Editorial: longing for personal encounter

by Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President Formnext — 4 March 2022

AM continues to enjoy a good deal of momentum. According to the latest surveys, the demand for 3D printers in the global marketplace has risen further in spite of the pandemic. While our industry is one of the many that are feeling the effects of various supply chain issues, industrial systems with price tags over U.S.$100,000 saw growth on the order of 40% in the first three quarters of 2021. Units starting at U.S.$20,000 have taken somewhat of a hit due to COVID-19, but things are now looking up again. Polymer and metal printers are finding the most success, and the top systems also include several that are designed for composites.

von Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President Formnext
Picture: Formnext / Mathias Kutt

Alongside these positive developments, the connection between the increased demand and the return of in-person events in 2021 is something we find particularly interesting. A related market analysis has confirmed that the small number of gatherings that did take place were a significant driver of demand last year. In other words, Formnext not only helped keep things moving in AM; it even energized the business further. Our annual November highlight in Frankfurt (and the Digital Days that were held immediately thereafter) gave the worldwide AM community the chance it had been longing for to meet face to face once again.

These are all good reasons to be optimistic as 2022 gets rolling. The pandemic and supply-related problems are still making their presence felt in a variety of areas, but the positive trend in the demand for AM technologies and applications looks set to continue. Whether it’s with physical or digital event formats, we look forward to following these developments and making our own particular contribution to the industry.


Sascha Wenzler


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