National Strategy for Additive Manufacturing Policy

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    In News

    • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology aims to increase India’s share in global additive manufacturing to 5 per cent within the next three years.

    About

    • Global spending on AM in 2019 was nearly $13.8 billion with a growth of 23.5% per annum and expected to reach $34.8 billion by 2024.
    • As per the National Strategy for Additive Manufacturing, by 2025, India will aim to achieve certain targets such as 50 India specific technologies for material, machine and software, 100 new start-ups for additive manufacturing, 500 new products.

    What is 3D printing or additive manufacturing?

    • It uses computer-aided designing to make prototypes or working models of objects by laying down successive layers of materials such as plastic, resin, thermoplastic, metal, fiber or ceramic.
    • With the help of software, the model to be printed is first developed by the computer, which then gives instructions to the 3D printer.

    Significance of this new policy

    • Addition to the GDP: It hopes that it could likely add $ 1 billion to the gross domestic product by that time.
    • Employment opportunities: These new start-ups and opportunities will give jobs to at least 1 lakh new skilled workers over the next three years.
    • Overcome technical and economic barriers: IT ministry is readying a national policy on promoting 3D printing on an industrial scale and helping domestic companies overcome technical and economic barriers so that they can build supportive and ancillary facilities for world leaders in the technology, such as the US and China.
    • The government would address key sector specific technical challenges for making 3D printing economically viable for MSMEs.

    Advantages of 3D printing

    • It Is Affordable
      • 3D printing is a single-step manufacturing process, so it not only saves you the costs linked to using different manufacturing processes and machines but also valuable time.
      • 3D printers do not need constant supervision as they can perform specific tasks once they are set; thus, you do not need to be around at all times.
    • Rapid Prototyping
      • You can cheaply and quickly create a new prototype with every design modification, unlike the expensive and lengthy prototype machining process.
    • Sturdy and Lightweight Parts
      • 3D printing allows complex, organic shapes to be made that are much lighter than traditionally machined parts.
      • In the aerospace and automotive industry, this is a vital factor as the use of lightweight materials helps improve fuel efficiency.
    • Environmentally Friendly
      • The use of 3D printing technology reduces the quantity of waste materials created during the production process.
    • Improved Healthcare Facilities
      • 3D printing has revolutionized the medical sector as it is now possible to print human body organs such as hearts, kidneys, and livers.

     Disadvantages of 3D Printing

    • Restricted Build Size
      • The chamber size integrated into 3D printers is usually relatively small, thereby restricting the part sizes that you can print. Therefore, any larger item needs to be printed separately and later assembled after its production.
    • Job Losses in The Manufacturing Sector
      • The use of 3D printing allows you to create prototypes and product designs within a few hours with one simple step.
      • Most of the steps followed in subtractive manufacturing are eradicated, and this helps save on the cost of labor as fewer people need to be hired to complete the manufacturing process.
    • Not Very User-Friendly
      • It is a new technology; there is often an element of trial and error required when creating parts on a 3D printer.
    • Limited Materials
      • The materials needed during the manufacturing process are limited, with some still being developed.
    • 3D Printing Machines are Expensive
      • The materials and equipment used in 3D printing are costly because the initial capital required to embark on using 3D printing technology is prohibitively expensive.
    • Production of Dangerous Items
      • Creating explosives, guns, knives as well as other harmful weaponry is theoretically more accessible because of 3D printing technology.
      • This is because it gives people access to a method of manufacturing items in their own homes that were previously impossible.

    Way forward

    • Inclusion in all the sectors: To get ahead in the additive manufacturing or 3D printing space, India must adopt it in all sectors, including in defence and public sectors.
    • An apex body which has subject matter experts and leaders from local and global industries could be established to lead the mission.
    • The national strategy should address the need for skilled manpower in various job profiles including operators, engineers, R&D personnel, technology broking and management.
    • The government’s financial support and private funding would be needed to promote the domestic AM ecosystem and supply chains.

    Source: IE