Power users: full integration of multiple 3D printing materials and technologies
We’ve already reached the fifth part of our analysis on our State of 3D Printing! This analysis will give you detailed insights on the development of additive manufacturing related to specific aspects such as when we analyzed the job market, material usage or on how businesses use 3D printing. In this fifth part, we will show you how power users have been using additive manufacturing compared to regular users. What are power users? And how are they of importance to 3D printing? Find out here.
Who are our power users?
Each year we focus on a specific segment of our respondents, this segment is called the ‘power users’. Power users are additive manufacturing users just like our other respondents except that these users invest more in this technology, resulting in better performance results and an overall advanced performance. These power users are more experienced, up-to-date with the technology, hold a bigger impact on 3D printing and find more benefits using this technology.
Power users find priority in product development, customized/limited products, and production
Power users find priority in Accelerating product development (55% against 39% of the regular uses, Offering customized product and limited series (34% against 25% of the regular uses, and Increasing production flexibility (29% against 19% of the regular uses). These three priorities will be again focussed on in the near future with our power users wanting to accelerate product development (54% against 37%), Offering customized product and limited series (37% against 26%), and Increasing production (34% against 23%) in the upcoming 5 years.
Our power users will invest a lot in order to keep improving these three aspects. Product development allows for many benefits such as reduction in costs and materials. Creating customized/limited products leads to the ability to offer customers a unique product and buying experience. We showed you how 3D printing can be used for customization by giving examples from companies like BMW in this blog post. By improving production, lead time can be reduced. All of these benefits allow our power users to be ahead of the game compared to their field and competitors.
More 3D printers and departments using 3D printing
Our power users apply 3D printing differently to their business. Whereas regular uses focus only parts of their company on 3D printing, power users have integrated additive manufacturing way more. If we look at how departments use 3D printing, we can see that power users have their departments using 3D printing seemingly more with an average of ~15% more. This can be traced back to the amount of 3D printers power users own. The more 3D printing is being used, the more 3D printers are needed. 44% of our regular users own more than one 3D printer whereas 57% of the power users own multiple printers!
Power user have fully integrated 3D printing for most departments of their organization. In order to keep up with each department’s 3D printing demands, multiple 3D printers are needed. Each department can make use of 3D printing on their own terms resulting in improved productivity. This backs up our previous statement where power users find most priority in product development, customized/limited products, and production.
Power users use more materials and technologies
In order to support the development of using more 3D printing for different departments and for owning more 3D printers, power users are using more materials compared to our regular users mainly, Plastics (85% against 65% of the regular sample), Metals (55% against 36% of the regular sample), and Resins (43% against 29% of the regular sample). As for the multiple additive manufacturing technologies that they use, SLS, FDM, and SLA are also the winning dice for power users. SLS being used by 53% compared to 38% of our regular users, FDM being used by 65% compared to 46% of our regular users, and SLA being used by 49% compared to 33% of our regular users.
Power users show to use 3D printing more intensively compared to our regular users. This full integration of 3D printing allows perhaps for more expensen, but in turn it has proven to be more beneficial for their annual turnover. Power users dare to experiment with more with all materials and 3D printing technologies which allows for them to find new beneficial factors and more importantly, it allows them to stand out from their competitors. Power users seem to agree so with 98% of our power users seeing 3D printing as a competitive advantage, compared to 90% of the regular users finding it that way.
Power users increased their expenses majorly and received a higher turnover
Power users have seemingly increased their 3D printing expenses with 22% of our power users having increased their expenses by 51% to 100% compared to 11% of our regular users. Also, another 22% of our power users having increased their expenses by 101% or more compared to 10% of our regular users. In turn, 45% of our power users stated that their turnover increased by 1% to 50% compared to 36% of our regular sample, 14% of our power users stated that their turnover increased by 51% to 100% compared to 11% of our regular sample, and 13% of our power users stated that their turnover increased by 101% or more compared to 10% of our regular sample.
The increase of these expenses can be traced back to our previous findings. In order to improve on product development, production, and the ability to offer customized/limited products, 3D printing needs to become fully integrated in the organization. This can be done by using 3D printing technologies and materials more extensively and by allowing departments to use it more. In order to keep up with each department’s demands, multiple 3D printers are needed. In turn, this full integration lead to positive outcomes resulting in a higher yearly turnover.
Power users more invested in 3D printing-related profile hiring
We already discussed the development of the additive manufacturing related job market according to our State of 3D Printing in this blog post. However, power users tend to be more dedicated to profile hiring. Whereas 17% of our regular users wish to hire new profiles related to 3D printing, power users want to hire 22% of them.
This development correlates with the fact that power users use 3D printing more for all of their departments with the help of multiple 3D printers. As for which profiles they wish to hire, Engineers, Operators, and Designers are still the most-sought-after similar to the criteria of regular users. Engineers are wanted by 61% of the power users compared to 25% of regular users, Operators are wanted by 59% of the power users compared to 24% of regular users, and Designers are wanted by 51% of the power users compared to 20% of regular users.
What about developments related to specific industries?
As we said before, power users are more experienced, up-to-date with the technology, spent more on additive manufacturing and thus hold a bigger impact on 3D printing. In turn, power users received a higher turnover. A lot can be learned from these power users when looking at how they have received a higher turnover. But, what other developments did we find in our State of 3D Printing? Download it for free here and you can find developments related to certain fields such as the consumer goods industry, industrial goods industry and even the aeronautics industry. If you want to read more on the latest overall developments regarding the additive manufacturing industry, subscribe to our newsletter which you will receive twice a week.