The European machine tool industry (CECIMO) has always been at the forefront of innovation and R&D-generated solutions across Europe’s manufacturing base.
In the array of emerging industrial technologies in Europe, additive manufacturing (AM) comes as one of the most relevant. AM pushes the boundaries of parts’ design, makes easier the production of different parts at no extra cost, minimizes manufacturing footprint and reduces inventory costs. While high warehousing and transportation costs dictate companies’ present, their future lays in flexible arrangements and closeness to the customer. Additive Manufacturing requires minimal tooling operations and creates finished parts directly from a digital CAD file. It will shorten time-to-market and open a myriad of possibilities for on-demand production.
As more and more investments are poured into the development of additive technologies, the entry barriers to AM adoption are likely to lower over time. Yet, policy and regulatory issues, if not properly addressed, may be a drag on the rise of AM in our industrial landscape. From skills and education to IPR and standardization, Europe faces a series of challenges and it is imperative to act fast and determined. CECIMO has been stressing that a common approach at the European level can accelerate the dismantling of technological barriers and overcome major policy and regulatory obstacles. After all, we have to remember that our AM machine producers and application sectors alike are competing nowadays on the global scale with countries such as the US, China and Japan.
This document provides an overview of the policy fields that deserve priority attention of EU authorities. It collects the inputs of a wide range of experts, including those from CECIMO’s AM Working Group, and details recommendations to speed up the AM uptake. We trust it to be an informative reading for stakeholders and policy-makers.