Seems as though there is going to be plenty of Christmas cheer to go around this season. Wayne Baron, vice president of engineering at Galil , reports that demand for the company's line of motion control products is beginning to pick up. "Over the past two years, we've been seeing customers push things out. In other words, they haven't been taking the part quantities that they said they would," says Baron. "Now, we're actually seeing companies pulling their orders in. They are saying, 'Can I have those parts I committed to for December, and can I have them now?'" Baron is seeing the increase in orders coming primarily from the semiconductor equipment and medical industries. The weird part, he notes, is that the semiconductor industry typically tends to lag other markets. Which makes the future all that more difficult to predict. "My guess is that we are going to see a recovery, but we are not going to return to the insanity of 1999 and 2000. We're expecting the semiconductor industry to increase its order activity anywhere from 25 to 50%," predicts Baron. "With other industries, it's harder to know at this point." One thing Galil does know for sure, though, is that it is getting more difficult to get certain parts. Baron says he's beginning to see shortages already on some products, such as connectors. He should talk to TI's Mike Hastings.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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