3D Printing

3D Printing’s Growth and Outlook in China

3D Printing on the World Platform

In recent years, we have seen an enormous surge in rapid prototyping or 3D printing being used to manufacture items on both small and large-scale productions here in the western hemisphere. The answer to why this is happening lies in the positive benefits that consumers and manufacturers have been exposed to, after using products manufactured through 3D printing and reaping the benefits of cost savings.

Rapid prototyping is creating a name for itself not only on local levels but also on an international platform. The world is witnessing innovative enhancements from 3D printing that they did not think were possible merely a decade ago. A whole host of items can now be manufactured using 3D printing, making it lucrative and interesting at the same time. People may not be equipped with enough knowledge on how 3D printing technology works, but many are looking to educate themselves before choosing to opt for products that are manufactured through this process. It comes as no surprise that it’s not just western countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, and many European countries finding 3D printing lucrative, but the largest economy of the east, China, is also finding this process quite lucrative. In fact, there has been a serious boom in the 3D printing industry under China’s belt, according to many analysts, businessmen, and reporters alike.

3D Printing Going Big in China

It comes as no surprise to hear that China is the global hub for bulk manufacturing. You can find just about anything being manufactured in China. From clothes, toys, furniture, cars, gadgets, and so much more; China produces almost everything under the sun! Hence, China embracing and integrating rapid prototyping in its manufacturing course was inevitable, especially in the ever-developing world that we live in. The world has fixed its eyes on China not only for its prosperous economic sector and the flourishing development sector but also its thriving technology sector. Many new advancements and innovations on the technology front have been witnessed and spurred in China.

China and 3D printing. Image: Google
China and 3D printing. Image: Google

A recent industry report highlighted that China will most likely outshine the United States when it comes to the amount of 3D printers being sold this year, and to top it off, China will most likely surge ahead in the next two to three years. Such a burst in sales means great things for China and its 3D printing industry, especially if we were to compare it to the global platform. The sheer magnitude of China’s population entails great business prospects for businesses retailing equipment. The figures alone display the vast opportunity that the rapid prototyping trade carries in China’s markets.

China’s government is helping out in this whole process by investing in 3D printing centers. Kangshuo Group is lined up for 100 million Yuan, which stands at around $15 million USD, for the new 3D printing center at the world’s tallest building this year. Technological advances have confirmed that 3D printing is indeed competent enough to face the most challenging of applications. Generic Electric used 3D printing to generate fuel nozzles that weigh 25% less and last almost five times longer! They plan to make around 30,000 more of these nozzles this year.

China’s Healthcare Sector 

China and 3D printing. Image: Google
China and 3D printing. Image: Google

Rapid prototyping is serving to transform healthcare and China is pretty much at the head here. In fact, China has already permitted particular implants; 3D hip replacements are now a preferred option for many of China’s medical patients who require hip implants. China is deeply involved in bioprinting, but has yet to settle the ethical matters regarding printing live organs in comparison to many other nations in the west. Irrelevant of the ethical concerns, the medical sector in China continues to take advantage of 3D printing. Patients are being made aware of the benefits of many of the equipment that can be provided to them through the use of 3D printing. Through this process China has also invited many patients worldwide to come and take advantage of their medical services. These services are continuously being taken to the next level, thereby earning China a name on the medical front in addition to the many other sectors it has acquired a good name in.

China and 3D printing. Image: Google
China and 3D printing. Image: Google

Realizations Regarding the Future

China was initially slow on the approval and integration of rapid prototyping, but it has been catching up rapidly in recent years, raising stakes on its level of competition under this market. The figures speak for themselves.

  • Around 31.4% of businesses in China are using 3D printing for prototyping reasons, compared to the approximate 21% in 2014.
  • Around 13.2% have embraced 3D printing as a segment of their manufacturing process and about 6.6% are manufacturing products using a 3D printer.
  • Only around 2.5% are manufacturing products that cannot be manufactured through conventional methods.

Companies that have not yet adopted 3D printing processes have not done so due to four main areas: concerns with the high implementation costs, concerns about the quality of 3D printing and the deficiency in expertise on how to use 3D printing technology, not to mention the fear that current printers are just too slow for the mass production process. Basically, there is an aura of fear over the possibilities that they have not yet experienced. This is the norm in the process of discovering new processes and implementing them.

Most of China’s reputation lies on the fact that it is considered a dynamo for manufacturing goods at low unit prices. China will definitely want to retain such a name, as this has gotten the country lots of success in various business sectors and continues to be a major factor in bringing the country financial success. The financial sector, tourism sector, industrial sector, and many more have felt the success across the board. However, Chinese business owners and companies in the current atmosphere must accept the fact that 3D printing is a method where they have two choices. It has to be either adapted and used by them, or it has to be competed against in order to keep the business and overall economy of the country booming. There’s no doubt that China’s stance as the world’s manufacturing hub will only strengthen with 3D printing in the years to come.

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