thyssenkrupp estimates additive manufacturing to reach value of $100 billion in ASEAN by 2025

German multinational engineering group thyssenkrupp has presented a white paper on the potential of additive manufacturing in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. Providing insights and perspectives on the state of additive manufacturing in all ten member countries, the document predicts that by 2025 the industry will generate an incremental value of $100 billion.

Titled “Additive Manufacturing: Adding Up Growth Opportunities for ASEAN” the white paper was developed by thyssenkrupp in collaboration with experts and partners in Singapore, as well as German OEM EOS and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC). The research was completed by thyssenkrupp as an overture to the official launch of its AM TechCenter Hub in Singapore, which was established earlier in 2019. Jan Lueder, CEO of thyssenkrupp Regional Headquarters Asia Pacific, comments: 

“As our study shows, additive manufacturing delivers enormous potential to transform the ASEAN region and level up vital sectors.”

“Additive manufacturing will surely be an innovative solution to further drive growth in ASEAN, as long as stakeholders work together to continue building awareness as well as a supportive ecosystem for additive manufacturing adoption and development. We have found such an ecosystem in Singapore, and that is one of the key reasons in establishing our first additive manufacturing TechCenter Hub outside of Germany.”

A metal 3D printed engine part printed by Thyssenkrupp. Photo via Youtube/Thyussenkrupp.
A metal 3D printed engine part printed by Thyssenkrupp. Photo via Youtube/Thyussenkrupp.

The potential of AM in the ASEAN region

With a legacy spanning over 200 years, thyssenkrupp provides industrial manufacturing solutions, particularly within the steel and engineering sectors. In 3D printing the company has previously collaborated with Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore additive manufacturing and data analytics for naval applications. Prior to launching the Singapore AM TechCenter Hub, the company had also opened a German hub of the same name in 2017, equipped with EOS 3D printers. 

“Our Additive Manufacturing TechCenter in Germany has been at the forefront of many innovations in AM,” shared Mr Lueder, “and we aim to bring these important and transformative innovations to our customers in the Asia Pacific region via the Singapore hub.”

Thyssenkrupp’s white paper on the potential of additive manufacturing in the ASEAN arrives during a time where the current penetration of additive manufacturing is still relatively low. ASEAN only accounts for 5 to 7 percent of Asia’s total additive manufacturing spend, which amounts to an estimated $3.8 billion for 2019, according to the research.

However, thyssenkrupp highlights the significant potential of the additive manufacturing market in the ASEAN. This is due to the fact that manufacturing accounts for  20 percent of the region’s GDP, while also employing almost 50 million people. The company suggests that the sizeable workforce is projected to treble in size in the near future. As mentioned earlier, the $100 billion of incremental value that can be generated by additive manufacturing is also expected to impact ASEAN’s projected real GDP from 1.5 to 2 percent. 

Infographic on the state of additive manufacturing in ASEAN today. Image via thyssenkrupp.
Infographic on the state of additive manufacturing in ASEAN today. Image via thyssenkrupp.

Additive manufacturing is expected to produce a multitude of opportunities to reduce the ASEAN’s dependence on imports. According to the research, additive manufacturing can help localize manufacturing closer to consumption, impacting at least $30 to 50 billion and decreasing the dependence on imports by up to 2 percent. It can also help nurture sustainable development in the region, improving ASEAN’s performance and competitiveness in global value chains such as Automotive, Electronics, and Chemicals. 

Finally, thyssenkrupp concludes that additive manufacturing can enable the ASEAN region to push its Industry 4.0 and skills development focus forward, while promoting local entrepreneurship. Potentially, this can lead to the establishment of 3 to 4 million additional AM jobs for the region by 2030, as well as accelerate the region’s growth in industries like Aerospace, Medical Devices, and Healthcare.

The countries paving the way for AM in ASEAN

The study conducted by thyssenkrupp also details the varying degrees of additive manufacturing adoption exhibited by ASEAN’s ten member countries, as many of the nations are focused on building the infrastructure and skills required to leverage the technology. 

Currently, Singapore leads the way, contributing a total of 40 percent of the additive manufacturing market in ASEAN. An example of AM adoption in Singapore can be seen in the Joint Industry Program (JIP) initiated by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. The JIP seeks to accelerate the country’s application of additive manufacturing in the maritime industry.

Following Singapore is Malaysia and Thailand, which together contributes the next 40 percent of the market by value. Development of additive manufacturing in Malaysia, for example, has been undertaken in part by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), a government agency specializing in the manufacturing sector. It collaborated with GKN Aerospace, a British aerospace supplier, to open an aerospace-engine research and repair facility in Johor. The new site has a focus on the application of 3D printing in repair and research.

The research also indicates that key to developing a broader acceptance of the technology in the region lies in partnerships and collaborations, as well as an understanding of additive manufacturing, its use and commercial value. 

“The biggest roadblock for additive manufacturing adoption is not the technology but lack of know-how today, and this is where we can create value for our customers building on our deep AM expertise,” comments Mr Abhinav Singhal, Chief Strategy Officer for thyssenkrupp Regional Headquarters Asia Pacific and one of the authors of the white paper. 

“We believe that all stakeholders – governments, businesses, research institutions – should come together and harness the potential of additive manufacturing to truly transform the region’s industries and realize our shared vision of growth and development. The time to act is now.” 

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Features image shows Singapore landmark skyway walk. Photo via Coleen Rivas/Unsplash