The European Patent Office (EPO) puts Germany at the top of Europe and second in world in the future-oriented sector of additive manufacturing (AM), commonly known as 3D printing.
The EPO says that Germany accounted for 155 patent applications in the period 2010-2018. That’s more than 19 percent of the total filed from countries around the world – second only to the US, which generated just under 35 percent.
Among European regions, Munich led the way in terms of AM activity with Berlin fourth, Lichtenfels sixth and Hamburg tenth. Among companies, Germany’s Siemens was ranked third, BASF fifth, MTU Aero Engines tenth, Evonik eighteenth and Eos twentieth in the world in European patent applications.
The size of the 3D printing market is projected to grow more than eightfold from 2014 to 2024. In its report, the EPO stressed that “the rise of AM is also set to have a profound economic impact on supply chains and business models in the years to come.” Germany’s growing strength in this area thus opens up lots of room for foreign investors to get involved.
Germany Trade & Invest mechanics and electronics expert Max Milbredt sees a variety of potential opportunities.
“Germany particularly leads the way in industrial additive manufacturing, serving Germany’s outstanding manufacturing industries such as aerospace, automotive or railways,” Milbredt says. “All of these are early adopters in the 3D printing field. But Germany also serves as the European hub for desktop 3D printing with its top-notch engineering talent and manufacturing and industrial design traditions. Companies like Formlabs from the US or Speed3D from Australia have chosen Germany precisely for those reasons.”