Predicting the future of additive manufacturing: A Delphi study on economic and societal implications of 3D printing for 2030
Publication typeArticle in academic journal
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication Begin page84
Publication End page97
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AbstractAdditive manufacturing (colloquially: 3D printing) is a highly discussed topic today. Previous research has argued that this technology will have profound effects for manufacturing businesses, but also society as such, demanding new corporate strategies and policies alike. Thus, the development of reliable future scenarios is key for strategic planning and decision making as well as for future research. Still, dedicated academic studies in this field remain scarce. We present the results of an extensive Delphi survey on the future of additive manufacturing with a focus on its economic and societal implications in this paper. Via an initial round of extensive qualitative interviews and a Delphi-based analysis of 3,510 quantitative estimations and 1,172 qualitative comments from 65 experts, we were able to develop two scenarios on the future of AM. Our first scenario is built on those Delphi projections with the highest consensus on the likelihood of occurrence, the second on the expected highest impact on the firm level. We present these scenarios in and conclude with a number of implications for industry, policy, and future research.
Knowledge Domain/IndustryOperations & Supply Chain Management