Completely reveal the status quo of China's 3D printing industry

Abstract Last weekend, the 3rd World 3D Printing Technology Industry Conference came to an end in Chengdu. At this conference, all parties around the theme of "Meeting the 3D Printing 3.0 Era", how to compare 3D printing with CNC technology, big data technology, cloud...
Last weekend, the 3rd World 3D Printing Technology Industry Conference came to an end in Chengdu. At the conference, people from all walks of life focused on the theme of "Meeting the 3D Printing 3.0 Era" and discussed how 3D printing is deeply integrated with CNC technology, big data technology, cloud computing technology, and Internet technology.

National policies are also good for 3D printing. With the steady advancement of the "Made in China 2025" plan, "China's Smart Manufacturing" will rise strongly, and 3D printing will become a key link in the high-end equipment manufacturing industry, providing a useful supplement to the traditional industry.

So what is the current living condition of the 3D printing industry? In what way will the future develop?

Not long ago, Eastern Airlines signed a newly purchased Boeing B777-300ER passenger plane, but found that the cabin seat sign was wrong, which made the airline into a dilemma: no change, passengers boarded the opportunity to fall into disorder; if you want to change, China Eastern Airlines was Inform that the change cycle will be as long as 180 days. Is it necessary to stop for half a year for a small signage aircraft? The China Eastern Additive Manufacturing Project team finally decided to enable 3D printing technology. It took only one night to complete the production of the seat sign.

The waiting time has been reduced from 180 days to one night, and the procurement cost has been reduced from 1,000 US dollars to 30 yuan. This huge difference has condensed the horror that the development of 3D printing technology has brought to the world for 30 years. From small aircraft parts to cars and houses, as simple as plastic toys, complicated to human organs, 3D printing is full of possibilities, and many people describe it as "only you can't think of it, no 3D printing can't do it."

In 2014, the global 3D industry output value exceeded 30 billion yuan, accounting for about one-tenth of the country. The industry estimates that with an annual growth rate of 25%, global output is expected to exceed 200 billion yuan in 2020.

However, in the long-term development of the industry, it is not surprising that it is beautiful. What's more, the 3D printing industry has just started. Even if it is global, the development bottlenecks such as “small and scattered”, “lack of mature business model”, “the application market has not been opened” and “sparse talents” are still in front of people.

Domestically, 3D printing has experienced several years of “exciting period”, “science period” and “confusing period”, and has already stood at the critical point. Since the beginning of this year, the country has issued two consecutive favorable policies involving the 3D printing industry. With the introduction of Industry 4.0 and "Made in China 2025", the concept of "3D printing +" is coming out - smart manufacturing is seen as an inevitable trend, and 3D printing is intended to be used by Dongfeng and the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing, and robotics. Develop and become a part of the intelligent service platform, tearing open the application market from here.

A number of industry insiders said in an interview with the "Daily Economic News" that 3D printing is about to enter the intelligent development track, and it is expected that the functionalization will be transformed into intelligence within 5 to 10 years.

Spring has arrived?

Pan Wei of Heilongjiang is looking for investors. In her thirties, she is ready to "catch the tail of youth" to start a business. Because the husband has a doctor background, they want to buy a 3D printer to provide preoperative planning services for the cosmetic.

What Pan Wei wants to enter is the “additive manufacturing” industry that is in the ascendant.

According to data provided by Bil O'Neil, director of the Center for Industrial Photonics at the University of Cambridge, industrial-grade 3D printing around the world has an annual growth rate of 25%. The industry ranks among GDP in the world, the first in the US, the second in China, Germany and Japan. Keep pace.

3D printing, a new manufacturing technology that was born in the 1980s, has been advanced from the initial stage of scientific popularization to the application of functional product processing, in aerospace, military production, automobile manufacturing, medical equipment, education. The fields of scientific research and personal consumption have been initially applied.

The traditional manufacturing industry has gone through the manufacturing of forged materials and the reduction of the processing of cutting materials. It stands at the edge of additive manufacturing and is regarded as a tool for “sustainable development” because of its “recycling and environmentally friendly” characteristics.

In China, the 3D printing industry has been enthusiastically sought after in recent years, and the capital market has become more frequent. According to the choice data, there are currently 25 stocks with a 3D concept in the A-share market, and many 3D concept stocks have a stock-to-earnings ratio of more than 1,000 times.

At the same time, listed companies have increased their efforts to lay out 3D printing. In July last year, Guangyunda and Belgium Materialise Co., Ltd. completed the 3D printing racing car has been debuted; Yaxia shares doing architectural decoration project also want to create "architectural 3D printing dream factory"; electro-optical technology signed a framework agreement with Zhongling Network in May , to develop a new mode of 3D printing O2O linkage; Jinyun Laser to create a "3D printing cloud factory plan" collection ideas. "If I have 300,000 yuan, what can I do in the 3D industry?" Recently, the "Daily Economic News" reporter saw a passionate 3D printing "maker" at a 3D printing industry conference.

There are multiple indications that 3D printing stands at the industry's tipping point. "The spring of 3D printing has arrived." Luo Jun, the founder of the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, told the "Daily Economic News" reporter at the above-mentioned industry conference.

It must be acknowledged that compared with the initial stage, the stability, precision and functionality of 3D printing equipment are significantly improved, and more and more materials are available. The supporting capacity of the industry has also been significantly enhanced, and equipment manufacturers, materials suppliers, service providers and user platforms will be fully opened to form a 3D printing eco-chain.

Luo Jun recalled that when the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance was established in 2012, there were only 11 member companies. But in just two years, 95% of the industry's experts and scholars and 3D printing upstream and downstream companies have joined the alliance, in sync with the industry's development trend.

The application market is not open

Despite the confidence of practitioners and investors, the current state of application of 3D printing is not satisfactory.

In 2014, the global 3D industry output value exceeded 30 billion yuan, but the reality that has to be faced is that the output value of the largest enterprise is 1 billion yuan. According to data provided by China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, there are more than 200 3D printing companies in the world, and there are more than 100 in China, but 90% of global 3D printing companies have an annual output value of less than 60 million yuan. The industry is small and scattered. The characteristics, "strictly speaking, there is no leading enterprise." Luo Jun said, "and there is no mature business model."

The application market for 3D printing has not been opened, and it is recognized as the biggest bottleneck in the industry. The application of 3D printing is divided into industrial grade and consumer grade. The former is designed and manufactured for aerospace, aviation, automobile and other industries. The latter focuses on educational institutions and design enthusiasts.

For the moment, consumer-grade 3D printing is getting better, and industrial-grade applications are not good. Hu Baoyin, manager of Huaying Hi-Tech Southwest Region, told the reporter of “Daily Economic News” that in the initial stage of research and development, 3D printing was used to make the design realize quickly, which was more cost-effective than mold opening. However, after mass production, 3D printing loses the advantage of “personalized and complex customization”. Compared with the traditional process, the cycle is long and the cost is high, and the performance of the printed product is not stable enough.

For traditional manufacturing, 3D printing is more like an aid to the research phase. It does not have a strong alternative in large-scale applications, and it is not used in all traditional fields. “Production equipment, selling equipment, or the old road of traditional manufacturing.” Luo Jun believes that the market has not really been opened, “because of the lack of a successful business model.” “In the industry, 80% of enterprises are making money by selling equipment, and Two percent is to sell materials.” Li Yaotang, director and researcher of the Guangzhou Institute of Electronic Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told reporters.

Material constraints have become another bottleneck in development. To date, more than 1,000 materials have been used in the field of 3D printing. "Material development is the material basis of 3D printing, which determines the scope of application." Bai Peikang, vice president of Zhongbei University [microblogging], said that 3D printing currently has few types of materials, low performance, and poor material versatility.

In the past two years, Xie Yonglin, a researcher at the Institute of Nanomaterials of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will participate in the 3D printing exhibition in the United States. “For the first time, exhibitors have production equipment, research and development materials, and services to engage in platforms. The second time, go to work. More, there are fewer materials."

At present, the practice in the industry is that the equipment supply company will specify the materials, and the equipment company said, "If you use other people's materials, we can't guarantee the product effect." Xie Yonglin pointed out that consumables are bundled and consumed, which is large and expensive. At the same time, 3D printing lacks industry standards, restricting the conversion from materials to products. It is also difficult to replace them with other materials. The limited materials also exacerbate the industrial dilemma and form a vicious circle.

Collision intelligent manufacturing

In 2013, the output value of China's equipment manufacturing industry exceeded 20 trillion yuan, accounting for more than one-third of the global total; machine tool output was 959,000 units, accounting for 38% of the global total. However, this does not cover the shortcomings of China's manufacturing technology quality and backwardness and overcapacity. The pattern of China's manufacturing industry is “big but not strong” and needs to be changed.

In the process of completing the "Made in China" to "China's wisdom", 3D printing was regarded as one of the breakthroughs. Since the beginning of this year, a series of policies have been introduced, and in the implementation of the "Internet + Manufacturing" action plan, smart manufacturing is the focus. In this context, the 3D printing industry has ushered in new opportunities.

In February of this year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and other three ministries jointly issued the "National Additive Manufacturing Industry Development Promotion Plan (2015-2016)" (hereinafter referred to as "Plan"), and for the first time highly evaluated the significance and role of 3D printing technology from the government level. Suggestions for advancement were put forward. The "Plan" proposes that "there is an urgent need to adopt advanced technology including additive manufacturing technology to transform and upgrade traditional industries", and set the development target for 2016, "to become an important technical means in the field of high-end equipment manufacturing and repair in aerospace" "Industrial sales revenue increased by more than 30% annually" and "developed a batch of independent equipment, core components and molding materials."

At the beginning of May, the State Council issued "Made in China 2025". At least five references to 3D printing and its inclusion in the manufacturing innovation center (industrial technology research base) construction project became one of the ten key areas to be broken. According to this strategy, the numerical control rate of key processes will be improved from 33% to 64%, including high-end CNC machine tools, intelligent industrial robots, and 3D printing additive manufacturing.

“3D printing is a very advanced manufacturing technology, but it needs to be integrated with welding, molding, sintering, etc., and deep integration with emerging technologies such as big data, Internet of Things, cloud computing, and robotics.” Zhang Meiying, vice chairman of the 10th and 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, also said in public.

In fact, domestic 3D printing has experienced several years of “exciting period”, “science period” and “confusing period”, and has already stood at the critical point. In Luo Jun's view, 3D printing is about to enter the 3.0 era - in the next 5 to 10 years, the transition from functionalization to intelligence will be realized.

According to Luo Jun's summary, the 3D printing 1.0 era has realized the transition from flat printing to stereo printing; in the 2.0 era, 3D printing technology, materials, cost, application and other levels have been greatly improved and improved; in the 3.0 era, the pivot point is intelligence. Manufacturing.

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Top interview

Li Yizhong, deputy director of the Economic Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference: the traditional industry is the best ally of 3D printing


In the early days of the development of the 3D printing industry, it is better to unite with it than to fight alone. Traditional industries such as petroleum, chemical, and foundry are regarded by many industry insiders as the best ally to develop the 3D printing industry.

Li Yizhong, deputy director of the Economic Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and former minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, recently accepted an interview with the reporter of the "Daily Economic News" (hereinafter referred to as NBD), proposing to develop 3D printing through joint efforts with traditional industries to jointly promote industry standards. Introduced. He also believes that 3D printing is not only a new technology, but also should be actively integrated into the new industry in the "Made in China 2025" plan.

Promote the birth of standards together

NBD: Many people in the industry say that there is no uniform standard for 3D printed materials. How do you think about solving the "standard" problem?

Li Yizhong: At present, in the field of 3D printing metal materials, the country does not have a unified standard, and each company has its own standards. I believe that 3D printed materials should not be produced only by additive manufacturers, but should have stable suppliers, such as metal materials, titanium alloys, high-temperature alloys, etc., non-metals, plastics, carbon fiber, nylon, etc. Natural, synthetic, etc., all involve the traditional industries, steel, nonferrous metals, chemicals, petrochemicals, building materials, etc., so the traditional industry should be used as a 3D printing material provider, fully integrated with the traditional industry in the 3D printing industry. Under the premise, together form a material standard, and then raise it to industry standards and national standards.

NBD: How should the traditional industry and the 3D printing industry be combined?

Li Yizhong: One aspect is that 3D printing is “required” to the traditional industry. For example, it is all titanium alloy materials. It is definitely different for use on airplanes and for 3D printing. Traditional industries can be developed in combination with 3D printing requirements. On the other hand, 3D printing has to form a close cooperative relationship with traditional industries.

For traditional industries, the 3D industry has high technology, high investment, and low returns. If the vision is not long-term, it may not be the case. But in the long run, the combination with 3D printing is an opportunity for products to move towards the mid-to-high end. Traditional industries should capture this opportunity.

I believe that traditional industries can also cooperate with the 3D industry at the capital level to form a close alliance of capital and technology.

NBD: What key technologies do you think need to break through to develop 3D printing?

Li Yizhong: Compared with the previous two years, this year's 3D printing application companies have indeed produced many exciting examples, and formed a concept, especially in aerospace, automotive, medical, medical equipment, the results are more obvious.

To study the additive manufacturing, we must master the three key nodes of technology. One is to use digital technology for 3D printing, turn digital technology into software, turn into printing industrial technology, and formulate corresponding standards and specifications. The second is the targeted development of metal and non-metal printing equipment and key components and components. The third is to make 3D printing widely used in different industries.

3D printing helps smart manufacturing

NBD: In other words, 3D printing is an opportunity for transformation and upgrading for traditional manufacturing.

Li Yizhong: Right. Additive manufacturing has unique advantages in the manufacture of high-strength, structurally complex parts that are precisely the weaknesses of our manufacturing industry.

The manufacturing equipment has a large capacity, but a large number of important parts depend on imports, and some rely on imports. Therefore, one of the tasks of the transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry is to vigorously improve the technical indicators such as the quality of basic components and components, and the two sides just hit it off. This is the entry point for additive manufacturing to enter the traditional manufacturing industry, and it is also the breakthrough point of transformation and upgrading.

Therefore, traditional manufacturing is both a material supplier and one of the largest and best customers of additive manufacturing. It is said that additive manufacturing can subvert traditional manufacturing. I feel that it is overstated, but in the key components of high-intensity and complex shapes, 3D printing can really change the business model of manufacturing.

NBD: There is a view that 3D printing has entered the 3.0 era combined with intelligent technology. How do you understand the relationship between 3D printing and intelligent manufacturing?

Li Yizhong: Implementing the “Internet + Manufacturing” smart manufacturing action plan – the deep integration of informationization and industrialization is the main line of “Made in China 2025”. There are five key links in intelligent manufacturing, namely, digital R&D design, numerical control of manufacturing equipment, digital intelligent control of manufacturing processes, product intelligence, and digitization and networking of service systems.

I think 3D printing is an important way to accelerate the development of smart manufacturing equipment and products. In the "Made in China 2025" plan, additive manufacturing has an important position, and 3D printing has appeared in five places before and after, and it is listed as a manufacturing innovation center construction project.

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