South Korea is no stranger to 3D printing technology, from turning its cultural heritage into 3D printable files and developing biocompatible silk 3D printing material to using metal 3D printing to manufacture medical implants and military jet parts and involvement at the Gyeonggi Innovation Center. Back in 2014, the government formed a 3D Printing Industry Development Council, and revealed a major plan to expand its 3D printing infrastructure on a national scale, and make South Korea a 3D printing leader. This initiative was introduced only a couple of months after the South Korean government announced that in order for companies to run 3D printing education programs for their employees, $2.3 million would be invested in 3D printing equipment and facilities.
While the country has still been extremely active in the 3D printing world — with applications and advances in medical 3D printing, bioprinting, 3D printed fashion, and education, for example — a report published by the Hyundai Research Institute last summer revealed that South Korea needed to step up its game: the country’s Industry 4.0-related companies only rose about 1.8% from 2011 to 2015, and profitability has also dropped. But in spite of a rather underwhelming economic outlook for 2017, South Korea wants to turn things around, and announced a plan in December to heavily invest in advanced technology, such as 3D printing, self-driving vehicles, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, and fifth-generation telecommunications.
This investment plan is pretty smart, as by the year 2022, it’s projected that the global 3D printing market will reach $30.2 billion, and that the annual growth rate between 2016 and 2022 will be 28.5%. The experts at Wohlers Associates, Inc. announced the publication of the industry-leading Wohlers Report 2017 today, which shows an overall softened growth of 3D printing technology around the world, but with some exciting new business activity on the horizon.It looks like South Korea’s new 3D printing investment plan has begun. In an effort to raise local economy by shoring up the various intelligence information technologies which characterize the fourth industrial revolution, earlier this year the South Korean government introduced a list of emerging technology sectors, which included 3D printing, to focus on. Yesterday, the country’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) announced that, in order to nurture the industry, it will be spending ₩41.2 billion, or about USD$37 million, in the coming year to further develop 3D printing expertise.
Kang Seong-Joo, an ICT ministry official, said, “The 3D printing industry is the core technology that will bring about innovation in the manufacturing realm and create a new market by changing the paradigm of the industry. It is important for ministries to cooperate to actively deal with the fast-changing global trend.”
MSIP explained that in order to strengthen natural competitiveness and motivate demand, the 2017 budget will be spent on different 3D printing businesses, and that it plans to help various industries, and the military, produce 3D printed components. The ministry also plans to assist the country’s medical sector by using 3D printers to manufacture rehabilitation devices and artificial bones. Discuss in the South Korea forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: Yonhap News Agency]