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US, India differ in 3D printing adoption
US, India differ in 3D printing adoption

US, India differ in 3D printing adoption

American firms are more proactive at acquiring the sustainable manufacturing technology, but Indian firms apply it more in production

Production technologies such as 3D printing are getting popular in the push to build sustainable products. But the stage of progress varies in the developing and the developed world. A new study finds that while US firms tend to acquire 3D printing technologies more than Indian ones, they fall behind in the actual application of these methods in production.

The study, by Mengli Zhao and others from China’s Jiao Tong University, is based on a 2017 survey of over 600 professionals in product development and 27 firm managers.

The use of 3D printing in manufacturing is picking up as it improves sustainability. The technology uses less energy and produces less waste than traditional methods. It also allows manufacturing to be done on demand, so less space is needed to store inventory.

One reason why US firms are keener on acquiring 3D printing technology is that they are more aware of it. Only 30% of Indian executives in the survey knew about 3D printing, compared to 77% of American executives. A cultural reason given in the study is the US being more open-minded and favourable to innovation than India.

Indian respondents also complained about high taxes on 3D printing tech coming in the way of its acquisition. Printers used in the technology are usually imported from abroad, which adds international shipping costs and customs duties.

However, Indian firms apply 3D printing tech in production more, because technologies used in the US are already well established. Applying 3D printing tech would mean replacing these technologies, which technical employees aren’t eager to do. In India, it’s easier for the top management to have employees toe the line and apply 3D printing, as the Indian society is more collectivist and inclined to follow group norms, says the study.

Also read: “Sustainability orientation, the adoption of 3D printing technologies, and new product performance: A cross-institutional study of American and Indian firms"

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