Frankfurt, October 19, 2021 – “In the additive manufacturing industry, people are looking ahead with a good dose of optimism. This is evidenced by our current economic survey.”
This is how Dr. Markus Heering, Managing Director of the Additive Manufacturing Working Group ( AG AM) in the VDMA, summarizes the results of the current survey. More than 50 companies covering the entire process chain took part in the survey in September. Manufacturing service providers, suppliers and additive manufacturing service providers were particularly well represented.
Heering is particularly pleased that more than 80 percent of those surveyed assess their business prospects for the next 24 months as positive, while only 2 percent expect their business situation to deteriorate. Even the short-term forecast for the next twelve months is positive for 60 percent of the companies. Compared with the previous survey in spring 2021, optimism has even increased. At that time, 78 percent of the companies surveyed had assessed the outlook for the next 24 months as positive. “The confidence is also based on export expectations,” explains Heering.
Export expectations increased enormously
Just under half of those surveyed expect exports to increase over the next twelve months; a further 49 percent expect business abroad to remain at least constant. Expectations for the next 24 months are significantly higher: 73 percent of respondents believe that exports will grow and 24 percent that they will remain the same. In spring, the participants were not so optimistic. At the time, just under 60 percent expected exports to grow. “You can see that the removal of the strict travel restrictions is having a positive effect on the business climate,” explains Heering.
94 percent name Europe as the most important export market. Sales in Central Europe and Western Europe are particularly high. The USA (57 percent) and China (25 percent) follow in second and third place as the most important foreign markets. Heering also sees this export orientation as evidence of the increased maturity of the technology.
Companies continue to invest in AM
The companies surveyed underline their optimism with entrepreneurial action: More than 40 percent of the participants want to increase their investments in the field of additive manufacturing and just under half of the respondents want to continue to invest as much as before. Heering sees this as evidence of the motivation and determination of the young industry. “During the crisis, additive manufacturing was perceived as a flexible and quickly adaptable technology. It has become anchored in society’s consciousness that AM is tailor-made for extraordinary requirements. This, too, is likely to contribute to the overall positive mood in the industry,” he sums up.
Do you have any questions? Dr. Irene Skibinski, project manager of the AG AM in the VDMA, irene. email@example.com, will be happy to answer them.
The Additive Manufacturing Working Group brings together 175 companies and research institutes under the umbrella of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). Plant manufacturers, suppliers of components and materials, industrial users from the metal and plastics sectors, service providers from the software, manufacturing and finishing sectors as well as researchers are all pursuing a common goal: the industrialization of additive manufacturing processes.