Additive Hype vs. Additive Reality

Solutionology Podcast: Episode #8 | 49 min


On this episode, we address an edgy topic that has caused more than a little frustration among customers and industry peers – “Additive Hype vs. Additive Reality.”

To gain a broader perspective, we invited Kyle Harvey, Additive Manufacturing Business Unit Manager at Extol, to join us. He’s a self-proclaimed “recovering engineer” and outspoken educator in the additive space. Extol is a manufacturing technology company that provides plastic assembly technology, custom automation, and engineering services.


3:00 GUEST INTRO: Kyle introduces Extol and how they are working to shift the focus from parts to products

5:52 HYPE: Additive offers high value within a business for functional prototypes and end-use production (i.e., it’s easy) REALITY: No one offers a game plan for making the value real (i.e., it’s difficult)

9:00 HYPE: You can buy a printer, push print, and catch the money as it prints out (i.e., it’s plug & play) REALITY: The additive adoption process is full of hidden costs for design, downtime and scrap (i.e., it’s expensive)

19:11 HYPE: The value of additive manufacturing is low-cost parts (i.e. it saves money) REALITY: Companies are offering below-cost pricing which is a race to the bottom (i.e., low cost = low quality)

22:52 HYPE: The fall of Fast Radius proves the additive industry bubble is bursting (i.e., it’s not as valuable as promised) REALITY: Additive has long-term value when done sustainably, but we’re seeing business model failures driven by unreal expectations. (i.e., success requires a wholistic approach)

34:40 HYPE: Printer manufacturers focused on selling “all the latest” hardware will drive success for our industry (i.e., more technology = more success) REALITY: Education about successful additive adoption must be pushed upstream to equipment suppliers and downstream to additive customers. (i.e., success can’t happen without education)

38:38 OUR ADVICE: Kyle, Carl & Brian offer words of advice to those getting started with additive