3D Technology: Global growth tops $20 billion in 2020 — Expert

A printing technology expert, Mr Akinwole Akinpelu, has said that the worldwide 3D printing industry forecast recorded a rocketing growth of over 20 billion dollars against the projected 9 billion dollars in 2020.

Akinpelu, Managing Partner, Stampar 3D Limited, made this known at a webinar organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) themed: “3D Technology: “An Emerging Business Innovation” on Thursday.

Akinpelu stated that the worldwide projections had also superseded expectations year-on-year since 2014.

He explained that the 3D printing process is an additive manufacturing process where an object is made layer by layer from computer 3D model data.

Akinpelu stressed that additive manufacturing was not aimed at competing with manufacturing but to add value to the manufacturing processes and reduce turnaround time.

He added that the application of 3D technology to the nation’s education process from a tender age would help simplify otherwise difficult to comprehend subjects and learning.

“There is no sector or industry that 3D technology is not useful in; be it education, engineering, housing, printing and manufacturing.

“The manufacturing process includes the forming, joining and subtractive processes. What 3D technology does is that it adds as an additive manufacturing process to give better results to the sector,” he said.

Mr Felix Amaefula, Chief Executive Officer, Generative CAD Services, noted that Nigeria spent over two trillion naira annually importing tools and equipment which were be made possible by 3D technology skills and designs.

He noted that developing capacity in these areas over the next 10 years would save the nation about 30 trillion naira, create 100,000 new jobs and increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product by 30 per cent.

Amaefula listed the challenges to scaling additive manufacturing in Nigeria to include low investment funding, limited machine capacity, low industry adoption, few experts and low collaboration between key experts and specialists.

He said that career opportunities in additive manufacturing included engineering, fashion, software developers, materials scientists, technicians, sales, marketing, education, writing, among others.

“The benefits of additive manufacturing are numerous, and the major benefits include faster production, unlimited shapes and geometry, very low start up costs, and lack of material wastage.

“We also look for synergy between specialists, experts in both private and public sectors to drive this automation and improve the manufacturing processes,” he said.

Mr Tunbosun Alake, Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Technology and Innovation, said the state government was committed to engendering a 3D technology process in the state.

This, Alake explained, was done by the training of young engineers on adoption and opportunities of 3D technology to enable them bring their processes to life through some test phases.

Alake said that the state government was currently expending efforts to increase automation of the entire land processing in Lagos to build and maintain an emerging economically vibrant trajectory of the state.

“Our journey has been digitizing data and digital set and making it accessible.

“Everything that has to do with the purchasing, speeding up and dealing of land matter would soon be a fully automated process.

“We are also looking to enable rapid prototype experts by providing vouchers to rapidly prototype their idea in hardware and manufacturing.

“Currently, we are talking to international partners to set up hardware labs to drive prototyping and we urge the private sector to come up with a framework that would drive the sector.

“If Lagos would proceed anywhere in the manufacturing space, it has got to be smart manufacturing,” he said.

Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President, LCCI, said that a contemporary discourse at this critical stage of the Nigerian economy on the role of technology in development cannot be over-emphasized.

She noted that over the years, 3D printing technology had been used for mass customization, production of open-source designs in the field of Agriculture, Health, Education, Automotive Industry, Locomotive Industry, and the Aviation Industry.

She stressed that the application of 3D printing in manufacturing sector could spur rapid growth within the sector and increase the Nigeria’s manufacturing GDP contribution as well as other sectors of the economy.

“The growth of 3D printing in Nigeria is expected to impact, not only on manufacturing, but also on the education sector.

“This technology brings to light a set of skills lacking in the Nigerian industrial setting, and the opportunity for new teaching practices in science and engineering programmes within our tertiary institutions.

“The emergence of 3D printing technology has the potential to transform businesses, geographical challenges, and entire supply chains.

“With less time to design and manufacture products; with minimum need for warehouses for inventory; with spare parts printed on demand; evidently, a great leap in our industrialization transformation is imminent.

“In the educational sector, 3D printing offers numerous benefits. These benefits include improving the students learning process as well as improving the teaching capabilities of the teacher. Hence the need to deploy 3D printing,” she said. (NAN)