ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING
EuPC survey to gain insight into 3D printing in European plastics converting industry
The European plastics processing association EuPC (Brussels / Belgium; www.plasticsconverters.eu) has started conducting an online survey to obtain a better insight into 3D printing (3DP) within the European plastics converting industry. It has also published its "Vision Paper", which outlines 3D printing's advantages for the industry. Both initiatives come after EuPC set up a "3DP Platform" in 2017, to define a European vision and the benefits of additive manufacturing in the plastics processing sector.

3DP polymers are used in a wide array of applications, from the production of personalised items and industrial fixtures, to medical technology as well as the maintenance and repair of machines. The 3DP of plastic objects clearly has a direct impact on the plastics converting industry, but 3DP affects plastics converting on more levels, EuPC says. The 3DP business is estimated to be worth around EUR 10 bn worldwide including printers, materials and services see Plasteurope.com of 01.12.2017. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, can be done with a vast number of different materials but plastics are by far the most important material in this industry. In 2016, over 84% of 3DP materials sold were polymers. Companies are currently using 3DP to produce functional parts more than anything else. In second place follows prototypes for fit and assembly, followed by education and research, and patterns for metal casting as well as prototype tooling.

According to EuPC, the biggest barrier to the use of 3DP in the plastics converting industry are likely the high costs of machines and materials, but this is presumed to change soon. The fast growth of the 3DP industry is expected to continue. In its leading publication on additive manufacturing, "Wohlers Report 2017", Wohlers Associates' (Fort Collins, Colorado / USA; www.wohlersassociates.com) expects the industry will grow 4.3 times by 2022 and the rise of economies of scale will make the applications cheaper.

From 24-25 May 2018 in Milan / Italy, when EuPC is due to hold its annual meeting see Plasteurope.com of 27.02.2018 it will conduct a workshop to present examples of additive manufacturing uses by plastics processing companies.

e-Service:
EuPC paper "Towards 3D Printing within the Plastics Converting Industry in Europe" as a PDF file
13.03.2018 Plasteurope.com [239254-0]
Published on 13.03.2018

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