Policy by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on 3D Printing
Q. Why is this in news?
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) will soon come up with a policy which is aimed at 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 policy will help develop a “conducive ecosystem for design, development and deployment” of 3D printing and additive manufacturing.
Q. What is 3D Printing?
3D printing or additive manufacturing 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, fibre 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.
3D printing and a viable industry around it is mostly in the shape of additive manufacturing, wherein companies make specific products for projects where there are very specific demands such as lightweight equipment, etc.
The USA remains the global leader in 3D printing, with more than 35% market share.
In Asia, about 50% of its market is cornered by China, followed by Japan at 30%, and South Korea at 10%.
According to MeitY’s estimates, the global market for additive manufacturing is expected to reach USD 34.8 billion by 2024, which is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 23.2%.
Q. What are the objectives of the policy?
To Encourage market leaders to establish global bases for 3D manufacturing in India, while also discouraging imports of printed material for domestic requirements.
Help develop a conducive ecosystem for design, development and deployment of 3D printing and additive manufacturing.
Help domestic companies to overcome technical and economic barriers so that they can build supportive and ancillary facilities for world leaders in the technology, such as the USA and China.
Q. What are its areas of focus and application?
Auto and ancillary auto and motor spare part business, such as engines, interior and exterior parts of luxury vehicles, or landing gear, complex brackets, and turbine blades.
One of the major applications for such products is in the medical and allied sector.
There can be some application of it in consumer electronics, printed circuit boards, clothing, toys and jewellery as well.
Q. What are associated challenges with 3D Printing?
Lack of Standards: Since 3D printing is a very niche and new domain, there are no global qualifications and certification norms.
Hesitation in Adoption: Another challenge is to convince the industry and ministries to push for its adoption in their respective sectors as any new technology, which is not understood easily, faces a tough time.
Risk of Job Losses: In the initial meetings on the subject, there was a lot of resistance on whether this technology would eat into the jobs of highly-skilled workers in the medical equipment or aerospace technology sectors.
High Costing: Although actual printing is cheap, parts to build a 3D printer are very expensive as the equipment and manufacturing costs are very high. In addition, there is a concern about warranty hence, resource companies are hesitant to put 3D-printed parts into their machines if they are not covered for damage in case the parts fail.
Sector Specific Challenges: Globally and even in India, the largest consumer of 3D printing is the automotive industry and right now it is going through a lot of changes like the introduction of BS-VI and electric vehicles. New vehicle design development has slowed and so has the demand for 3D printing.
Indian market has a high potential ground as the adoption of 3D printing solutions is continuously rising for the past few years ,
Moreover , according to MeitY’s estimates, the global market for additive manufacturing is expected to reach USD 34.8 billion by 2024, which is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 23.2%.
With increased general market awareness and government support there is still a lot of growth here compared to markets that are more advanced in this front as Japan, Germany and USA.