Aug 4, 2016 | By Benedict

A quarter of senior metals executives responding to KPMG International’s 2016 Global Metals & Mining Outlook survey say they have invested in additive manufacturing; 27% say they will invest more in the future. Fewer than half voiced any confidence in the prospects for the global economy.

Earlier this year, KPMG International’s 2016 Global Manufacturing Outlook (GMO) reported that a quarter of responding manufacturers had invested in 3D printing technology, with 31% certain to invest over the next two years. KPMG has now released figures from its currently unpublished Global Metals & Mining Outlook, demonstrating a similar level of confidence in additive manufacturing from senior metals executives: just over 25% said they had already invested, with 27% planning to invest in the future.

While those figures may sound reasonably promising for the additive manufacturing industry, the survey contained bad omens for the global economy. Fewer than half of respondents voiced any level of confidence in the prospects for the global economy over the next two years—a worrying sign given the usually close relationship between the fortunes of the global economy and the global metals and mining industry. Despite this, the responding executives generally expressed positivity that they could survive a potential downturn in the global economic state of affairs: two-thirds expressed confidence about the possibility of achieving growth in the next two years; 63% predicted growth for the industry as a whole over the same period.

Additive manufacturing was not the only new form of technology discussed in the survey. Executives were quizzed on their attitudes towards AI and cognitive computing solutions, with one-in-six saying they had already invested in such technology and 27% planning to invest more in the future. 42% of participating metals executives said they would definitely invest in robotics over the next two years. “Metals organizations recognize that when the upcycle does return they will need to be much more agile and efficient in order to drive profitable growth,” commented Eric Damotte, KPMG’s Global Head of Metals. “Cognitive computing, AI, and Data and Analytics will be critical in helping metals organizations take advantage of new growth opportunities as they arise.”

In KPMG International’s 2015 Global Metals & Mining Outlook, expert Tom Mayer pointed out, "In the shrot term, 3D printing is unlikely to replace traditional manufacturing approaches for high-volume products such as cars. But it is making rapid inroads in product development, prototyping and low rate production applications."

He commented on the appeal of additive manufacturing’s “buy-to-fly-ratio,” with manufacturers only required to purchase as much material as will go into a final 3D printed part, as opposed to purchasing ten times the quantity required and machining it down to its correct dimensions. While Mayer did not expect 3D printing to disrupt demand in the metals sector in the short to medium-term, he commented on its potential effect on certain businesses: “As the technology continues to mature and expands to new applications, we expect it may start to impact the profitability of specialty metal forming and machining businesses—in particular low-rate casting, forging and extrusion operations—and the machining jobshops they support.”

Roundup of the 2015 Outlook

According to KPMG International, its Global Metals & Mining Outlook gives an overview of trends, issues and opportunities in the global metals sector. It includes valuable benchmarks as well as advice and insights from KPMG partners, industry experts, and metals leaders.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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