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Made in Canada—Additive Manufacturing forges ahead despite headwinds: new report

Published: April 29th, 2021 By:

Ottawa, April 27, 2021—Canada’s diverse Additive Manufacturing (AM) ecosystem boasts several world-renowned firms adopting the technology, and notable success in niche areas such as metal powder feedstock, metal AM research, and applications in aerospace and health sciences. But Canadian AM also faces challenges such as slow industry adoption, partially due to cost and uncertain return on investment.

AM is poised to impact global manufacturing paradigms. Decades of technological advancement have led to a proliferation of new AM use cases. The global AM ecosystem is currently growing at 24% a year and is expected to reach US $35.0 billion by 2024.

AM advantages include agility, customizability, and flexibility, which has made it ideally suited for prototype manufacture of highly complex parts in low quantities. But AM has the potential to move beyond prototyping. It can be incorporated into traditional manufacturing paradigms, to assist in the production of legacy components, and to reduce costs in packaging, logistics, and inventory management.

The study’s interviewees expressed optimism about the future of AM in Canada, but they also identified numerous challenges to growth, including competition from dominant AM players (China and the US primarily), slow AM adoption rates by Canadian businesses, and technical and regulatory challenges that need to be addressed.

This report, Just Press “Print”: Canada’s Additive Manufacturing Ecosystem, also explores the following in detail:

  • AM technologies, their advantages, limitations, and applications in key sectors
  • Strengths and weaknesses of Canada’s AM ecosystem, the diversity of AM firms, industry bodies, and educational institutions
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canada’s AM ecosystem
  • Policies to promote post-pandemic growth of Canadian AM, including investments in education and other forms of assistance

“Additive Manufacturing is ushering a new era in manufacturing and industrial applications, enhancing productivity and lead times while empowering sustainable production. With such endless possibilities, the adoption of 3D printing is poised for strong growth in Canada,” said Namir Anani, ICTC President & CEO.

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 25 years.

To arrange an interview with the lead researcher on this paper or other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at p.stastny@ictc-ctic.ca or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

This study was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives program.

A copy of the study can be accessed here.

A French language version of this press release is available here.


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