→Jump to content

Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag

18.09.2017 | Publication

Additive manufacturing (3D printing)

The TAB report no. 175 analyses the application potentials and possible economic and social impacts of industrial additive manufacturing technologies and 3D printers for private users – English policy brief now available.

With additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, the requested component is built up successively by applying the source material layer by layer based on a digital 3D model. This process enables the manufacturing of geometrically highly complex products which could not be realised by means of conventional manufacturing processes at all or only with great effort.

Industrial AM technologies and 3D printers for private users are particularly fascinating, because they generally nourish the utopia of a universal machine by means of which anyone can manufacture material objects at will. This is why the ideas regarding the performance, potential applications and impacts of AM technologies are manifold and often highly exaggerated. The TAB report no. 175 offers orientation by means of a systematic and scientifically well-founded presentation and evaluation of the developments made in this field in order to – on the one hand – provide a realistic assessment of the potentials involved and to point out possible ways of how they could possibly be used in a better way as well as – on the other hand – to allow for a differentiated view of possible social impacts of this technology.

TAB's policy brief no. 15, which is now available in English, features the key findings of the report.

Top