As I review the past 12 months, since we published the inaugural salary survey at the beginning of 2017, it feels as though a lot has changed in the additive manufacturing industry. The industry continues to grow but I would say that this past year it seems to have matured. The conversation has moved from 3D Printing, Prototyping and R&D to Industrial Production. This shift started in 2016 with both HP and GE Additive very vocal about their intentions, but in 2017 almost everybody I speak to is talking about the industrialisation of Additive Manufacturing.
I gave a presentation earlier this year to one of the leading Metal 3D Printer OEMs where I discussed this. A number of the key drivers I highlighted included the increase of more Integrated Solution Providers and the emergence of more Collaborations and Partnerships. I was fortunate enough to attend the first Munich Technology Conference organised by Oerlikon. They spoke passionately about the need for different stakeholders in the AM value chain to work together not against each other for true industrialisation and innovation to take hold. The deal that was struck between Oerlikon and GE Additive is one such example of this. GKN Additive emerged as a good example of an Integrated Solution Provider. A very established global engineering company with deep knowledge in aerospace and automotive, they combined their powder metallurgy experience with their process knowledge to offer contract manufacturing solution for additive.