Solactive 3D Printing Index

The next industrial revolution?


Open End PERLES on Solactive 3D Printing Total Return Index

I. 3D Printing – an industrial revolution

For many years now three-dimensional printing methods have been mesmerizing the whole world without losing any of their appeal. 3D printing involves the process of creating real-world objects layer by layer, on the basis of digital models. Soon, in the ideal case, pretty much every consumer should be able to print out just about any object simply and quickly in the required size and with the right dimensions, on pretty much any material. “3D printing will remain a long-term opportunity,” according to the analysts of UBS (UBS study “Longer Term Investments, Automation and Robotics”, 01/2016). This positive outlook is also supported by the sales forecasts for the sector. The market research company Wohlers Associates expects revenues in the sector, which amounted to around USD 7.3 billion in 2016, to grow to around USD 21.2 billion by 2020.

II. Advantages of 3D printing technology

Much is expected of the relatively new field of 3D printing. The advantages of this technology over standard processes are obvious: Alongside individual, custom-fit design opportunities, objects can be produced at short notice and as needed using 3D printing. It thus cannot be excluded that 3D printing could revolutionize the established model of industry. Existing highend devices are already capable of scanning objects and reproducing low volume production runs. If 3D printing truly lives up to its potential, it could open up major opportunities for growth in as-yet minor sectors, which could even produce pioneers of the burgeoning economic segment. What’s more, it would make devices in the private sector increasingly affordable. So the technology could have significant implications for home use as well as the mass market.

III. Current 3D printing processes

The current 3D printing processes differ primarily based on the materials used. The workpieces produced are generally constructed with the aid of physical or chemical hardening or smelting processes. For example, pulverized metals can be "baked" together layer by layer using selective laser smelting and electron beam smelting. Similarly, objects can also be constructed from polymers and ceramics, not just metal, using a 3D printer. Using stereolithography, structures can be formed from liquid syn-thetic resins by means of a layered application and hardening process. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) works in a similar manner, liquefying plastics and sometimes synthetic resins using heat and applying these on top of each other, layer by layer, at the desired position.

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