|Date Posted||November 27, 2019|
The first diplomas awarded for the new harmonized qualification system for AM developed by EWF will contribute to a faster adoption of this key enabling technology and ensure the future of European industrial competitiveness
Porto Salvo, November 5th 2019 – Additive Manufacturing is entering fast into the mainstream since most industries, if not all, are bound to benefit from its nearly endless possibilities of customization and on-demand production. It is already redefining many industries, and it has the potential to disrupt traditional business models and value chains, providing companies willing to fully embrace this technology with a significant competitive advantage. One of the reasons that its growth has not been as fast as anticipated is the lack of qualified professionals capable of dealing and operating in Additive Manufacturing. Essentially, the shift in existing job definitions and the emergence of new skill sets require continuous up/reskilling to meet the needs of an economy that is increasingly blurring the lines between the physical and digital world. That is why EWF has, along with its network of partners, developed the first International Additive Manufacturing Qualification System to support the fast adoption of this new market.
This new qualification system relies on EWF’s expertise in the development of advanced harmonized qualifications that are broadly used and recognized. These qualifications, as with all other developed by EWF, are a result of the cooperative work between the federation and experts representing both industry and education (e.g. training centres, universities, and research organisations), that agreed on the technical and pedagogical structure of the qualifications needed for current and future professionals in metal additive manufacturing. The collaboration with organizations supported by several European projects, ensures that a crucial fast track adoption of this first European/International Qualification System for Additive Manufacturing personnel is made possible.
EWF currently offers Qualifications in Metal AM, three at the Operator level and three at Engineering level. And they have been gathering momentum, with the International harmonised qualifications for professionals in additive manufacturing already recognized in 33 European countries. The first countries offering these qualifications are Italy, Germany, France, UK and Spain, and the first course for Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) operator started this year in Italy, with the first diplomas already awarded.
Ensuring the broadest and fastest adoption of this qualification system, EWF and its partners are actively pursuing the creation of support bodies. First, an AM Observatory, to map and monitor AM’s industry technological trends, skills shortages and mismatches, policies and figures for the AM Qualification System. Additionally, two Councils (Industry and Education) were created, whose mission is to identify and validate skills needs and implement AM training courses and approve training guidelines of the AM Qualification System.
In summary, the uniqueness of EWF’s harmonized qualification and quality systems create a swift pathway for the recognition of qualifications in countries that are already engaged with the system, supporting a faster and broader adoption of this new qualification system for Additive Manufacturing. Currently, this ecosystem comprises 46 countries, 44 ANBs (Authorized Nominated Bodies) and 683 ATBs (Authorised Training Bodies). The network also includes 55,000 companies worldwide. The Authorised Training Bodies are approved and supervised by the ANBs to deploy and teach the EWF/IIW Qualification courses, combining both supporting knowledge and application experience, in a close relation with industry and their needs.
A large potential market potential for companies to tap into
Additive Manufacturing is a comprehensive name for all the technologies that build 3D objects by adding layer-upon-layer, regardless of the type of material. It encompasses many technologies including subsets like 3D Printing, Rapid Prototyping (RP), Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM), layered manufacturing and additive fabrication. Its potential range of applications is nearly limitless, ranging from AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) to industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military, engineering, dental and medical industries, biotech (human tissue replacement), fashion, footwear, jewellery, eyewear, education, food, and many other fields.
According to the Wohlers Associates report, a reputable consultancy, the 3D Printing Industry’s growth forecast for 2020 is $15.8 billion for all AM products and services worldwide. The company expects revenue forecast to climb up to $23.9 billion in 2022, and $35.6 billion in 2024. The report highlights notable AM-related activities in many industries, including aerospace. The team collected insights from leading industrial companies worldwide to gain perspective on the use of Additive Manufacturing to produce end-use parts. The inquiry found that within the factors driving this strong growth of Additive Manufacturing worldwide there is a renewed focus on:
- Design for additive manufacturing (DfAM);
- Education and training;
- Post-processing and post-process automation;
- Materials diversification;
- Custom products and low-volume manufacturing;
- Partnerships and collaborations;
- Start-up companies;
- Viable supply chains;
- Data, security, and interconnectivity;
- Investment in applications;
Education and training is a key enabler for this transformation, as digital technologies become a critical part of all manufacturing processes.
The complete whitepaper can be found here.
About the European Federation for Welding, Joining and Cutting
EWF is a pioneer in implementing a harmonized qualification and certification system for joining professionals. Through European projects EWF has been innovating in training methodologies and involved in the development of new technologies and uses for joining. Through its member organisations, EWF has established a firm link to the local industry, providing knowledge and training as well as participating in research initiatives that address the most pressing questions and challenges in the field of joining technologies.