Below is a summary from a study on the needed efforts in education, sustainability and equality to make Sweden a global key player within Additive Manufacturing (AM). The study was conducted by a literature review and a quantitative survey of key players in AM in Sweden today.
Mainly, the study showed that Sweden believes it is further ahead in the development of AM than reality shows (the entire report is attached below). Most people who work with AM today have had to teach themselves about the subject, and current students testify to shortcomings in university courses at Chalmers University of Technology where AM is only mentioned in passing. The Industrial Design Engineering program at Chalmers has no dedicated education at all in "Design for AM" and theory of AM technologies is not included in the compulsory courses either.
This situation where students have to take extra steps on their own to learn about and start using AM does not reflect the development that the industry, universities and government agencies brag about. In 2016, a study on AM saw a need for extensive work on how AM education can be developed, but four years later not much seems to have happened. My conclusion is that Swedish university education must be developed quickly for Sweden to be able to be at the forefront of AM, which requires mandatory course content on Design for AM, Design for Sustainability, Generative Design and Topology Optimisation. As AM will grow, have reduced margins of error and become cheaper it will become a better and better alternative for mass production and students need to be prepared for this.
Although 44% answered that AM is deeply embedded in the organisation, where some had guidelines for how AM should be used, few could describe the goals for AM and the process in detail within the organisation. One conclusion was that many believe that AM is of a different nature where each project is unique, which may be why guidelines are deficient or lack clear sustainability or gender equality goals for the work with AM.
Despite AM's unique project structure from case to case, I believe that there are opportunities for leaders within organisations to find ways to create a structure and plan for how AM work should be developed where important issues such as sustainability and gender equality are implemented (most answered in the survey that their AM development is incremental instead of radical where only half discussed sustainability issues and gender equality issues in relation to AM). This probably stems in part from the fact that AM is considered to be a more sustainable technology in principle. AM will grow a lot, which requires companies and universities to take a more active approach to the subject in order to create structure, goals and sustainability so that AM is educated and used in the best way in the future in Sweden.