Materialise Announces 3D Printing Trends for 2023

For 2023 the company has identified four trends for breaking down the barriers associated with adopting 3D printing. technology.

For 2023 the company has identified four trends for breaking down the barriers associated with adopting 3D printing. technology.

At the end of every year, collaborators at Materialise come together to identify the 3D printing trends for the coming year. For 2023 the company has identified four trends for breaking down the barriers associated with adopting the technology as part of an industrial manufacturing process.

They are: 

  1. The rise of smart, distributed manufacturing
  2. A focus on cost reduction 
  3. Workflow automation
  4. Data security and data integrity

A video of the Materialise 3D Printing Trends for 2023 is available here. 

In-Depth Look at Trends

1. Distributed manufacturing, done smart

Traditionally, manufacturing has always centered on a single location—usually a factory overseas. In the last few years, the impact of COVID-19 crippled factories and disrupted supply chains. All of this has made manufacturing companies rethink the centralized production model.

With smart, digital technologies like 3D printing, manufacturers can make the shift to operating through multiple smaller-scale production sites that sit closer to their customers.

In the end, smart distributed manufacturing, enabled by 3D printing and when done strategically, can be a successful strategy, rather than an ad hoc response to problems with global supply chains.  

2. The cost of 3D printing must come down, according to Materialise. 

3D printing enables design optimizations that provide performance, weight saving, time, and supply chain benefits. In many cases, these benefits create cost advantages that impact the overall end-to-end manufacturing cost, from design to delivery. But that doesn’t mean that the 3D printing process is cost-efficient. 

Several factors determine the cost of 3D printing parts, including the materials required, production time per part, and the type of printer. There are two important ways to reduce this:

The first is by working more efficiently to increase production capacity. Software plays a major role in this, by making it possible to optimize the build. The second is using tools that improve quality. 

3. From Process Automation to Workflow Automation 

3D printing is a digital manufacturing technology, but it requires human intervention. A recent survey by Materialise indicated that recruiting a workforce with the necessary expertise is the top challenge for companies that are already using or considering 3D printing. 

At the same time, scaling up industrial 3D printing production into the thousands or millions requires a repeatable and consistent printing process.  

These two challenges increase the need for automation. 

The promise of large-scale, industrial 3D printing requires automation of each process but also the flow between them, or workflow automation. 

The ability to meet this need is growing, thanks to the creation of software platforms that allow manufacturers to define their own 3D printing process.  

4. Data security and data integrity become top of mind 

The new digital, distributed production environment revolves around one asset—data. Data needs to be secured. Data security is important in any form of manufacturing, whether traditional or smart. In both cases, companies share their unique designs with contractors and suppliers, and they want to know that their design data remains secure.

With 3D printing, manufacturers that plan to scale up the production of a 3D printed part into the thousands or millions need to optimize and fine-tune their printing process to make it efficient, reliable and repeatable across multiple production sites. A smart production process ensures that all 3D-printed components have the same quality, no matter where they are produced. So, in addition to data security, data integrity is becoming top of mind for companies that embrace digital manufacturing, according to Materialise.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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