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India Releases National 3D Manufacturing Strategy 

Image credit: Press Information Bureau

The government has released a national strategy for additive manufacturing (3D printing). It aims to encourage collaboration between academia, the government, and the industry, making the country a global hub for the design, development, and deployment of this technology. The document will focus on creating local entrepreneurship, technology, and intellectual property in 3D printing. One of the objectives of the strategy is to enhance India’s position in the international 3D manufacturing landscape, increasing its share in global additive manufacturing to 5% within the next three years. It hopes that the sector will add around US$1 billion to the gross domestic product by that time. The policy will encourage and incentivise indigenous manufacturers who promote a sustainable additive manufacturing ecosystem on a national and global scale.

According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the government has made “clearly defined goals” in the strategy, which was released after extensive consultation with industry leaders and experts. The plan targets developing 50 India-specific technologies, 100 new start-ups, 500 products, and 10 existing and new manufacturing sectors. The start-ups and opportunities are expected to generate jobs for at least 100,000 new skilled workers over the next three years. MeitY has suggested that to get ahead in the 3D printing space, India must adopt the technology in all segments, including in defence and public sectors.

Further, MietY aims to make additive manufacturing a major export item in the coming years. The technology has the potential to revolutionise India’s manufacturing and industrial production landscape through digital processes, communication, imaging, architecture, and engineering. An apex body, the National Additive Manufacturing Centre, made up of industry experts and leaders from local and global industries could be established to lead the mission.

The MieY Secretary, Ajay Sawhney, stated that right now, the additive manufacturing segment is wide open. Without efforts to build indigenous strength, materials, printers, and designs will continue to come from other countries, and India will pay large amounts of royalty to foreign companies. The MeitY Minister of State, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said that fortunately, the country is at the same stage as the rest of the world in the additive manufacturing sector. Further, the sector plays to the strengths that India has, which include software, electronics, ESDM, and artificial intelligence (AI). He added that additive manufacturing is the new generation of digital manufacturing, and the next wave of start-ups will emerge in this area.

The industry has appreciated the fact that the government is taking this sector seriously and wants to make it self-sufficient by promoting local development and design. Currently, 80-85% of the equipment used in 3D printing machines and materials is imported. If the government supports the local manufacturing of 3D printing machines and materials, the adoption rate will dramatically improve, an industry expert noted. The global 3D printing products and services market was valued at US$12.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% between 2020 and 2023, according to a recent report.

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