Additive Manufacturing processes generate high expectations for digital industrial production. They describe technologies that produce components by the layered application of material made of shapeless raw material – for example, metal powder. These are almost “printed”, moulds are no longer necessary. In principle, additive production can be used to produce any shape in any small number of pieces – and thus individualise it in the sense of mass customisation. At the same time, components can be manufactured decentrally and close to the place where they are used. The scenarios for possible applications are diverse; the growth rates of the industry are high.
Still, Additive Manufacturing in industrial production is at the beginning, according to the conclusions of the academies in the joint statement. The applications are limited; questions about data security, copyrights, and standardisation have to be clarified. In the years to come, Additive Manufacturing processes will not revolutionise industrial production in the opinion of the academies. However, there are many indications that they complement the existing procedures. With concrete recommendations for stakeholders from research, business, education, and support policy, the academies show what measures are necessary to exploit the economic and ecological potential of Additive Manufacturing for Germany.