INTERVIEW: CEO of India’s National Center for Additive Manufacturing insights into 3D printing in India

The National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM) has inaugurated its new state-of-the-art facility at the Technology Development Centre at Osmania University in India. 

3D Printing Industry spoke with Jaspreet Sidhu, CEO of NCAM, to gain insights about the vision of NCAM and ongoing trends and AM growth in India.

Conceived through the partnership of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Government of Telangana, this center assumes the “apex position” in the domain of additive manufacturing within the nation. Its main aim is to establish a comprehensive ecosystem for AM adoption in industries, with a strategic focus on indigenization, provision of advanced infrastructure, facilitating R&D, and promoting skill development activities to cultivate a high-caliber workforce.

“It is a first-of-its-kind National Centre built with the purpose of facilitating cutting-edge technologies dedicated to additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) to meet the evolving needs of various industries, catalyze innovative startups, and to transform the manufacturing sectors in India,” says the CEO.

NCAM unveils its new state-of-the-art facility in Hyderabad. Image via NCAM.

An effort to accelerate the Indian additive manufacturing landscape

According to the CEO, this collaborative effort encompasses financial backing, infrastructure provisions, and facilitation of access to diverse national schemes, all crucial elements contributing to the effective operations of NCAM. The overarching mandate of NCAM can be broadly categorized into five distinct pillars: skill development, new product development coupled with indigenization, facilitation of adoption and industry readiness, provision of access to exceptional additive manufacturing infrastructure, and fostering innovation. “Both MeitY and the Government of Telangana are fully collaborating and supporting NCAM to deliver the targeted mandate, says Sidhu.

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NCAM’s five pillars of overarching mandate. Image via NCAM.

NCAM’s vision is to increase additive manufacturing growth by forging an alliance among government, academia, and industry. It acts as a repository for AM data, guiding policy improvements and enabling indigenous R&D and global product development access. NCAM empowers major firms in AM adoption, amplifying capacities and opening new ventures while aiding SMEs in diversifying products through rapid prototyping. Utilizing a hub-and-spoke model, NCAM fosters CoEs nationwide, integrating AM into public sectors, setting standards, and more. The center also supports startups, fuels indigenization, aids IP registration, and collaborates to cultivate a skilled AM workforce.

Additionally, NCAM, in collaboration with its affiliated partners, extends support to India’s local ecosystem by facilitating various advanced technologies. These technologies include Selective Laser Melting, Selective Laser Sintering, Fused Deposition Modelling, induction coupled plasma spherodizer, powder characterization system, and Digital Light Processing systems.

India’s additive manufacturing industry: a growing market with huge potential

Sidhu further explains that in 2022, India’s additive manufacturing sector was assessed at $250 million, according to the MeitY Govt. of India’s report within the National Strategy document. A robust Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 20.33% characterizes the ongoing expansion of this market. Over the past decade, the widespread embrace of AM technologies across diverse sectors in India has become increasingly apparent. Notably, the sectors leading the charge in AM adoption span defense, aerospace, automotive, healthcare, consumer goods, construction, tooling, and education. Simultaneously, the Govt. of India’s data sheds light on the registration of over 300 startups within the Additive Manufacturing sector. Of particular significance, these micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) collectively contribute to approximately 60% of India’s AM Industry.

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According to Shri Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Secretary of MeitY, “the world looks towards India as a strong and self-reliant economy.” According to the National Strategy on Additive Manufacturing, India has set a goal of contributing an additional US $1 billion to its GDP by 2025 through the integration of additive manufacturing. The potential for substantial expansion remains abundant across diverse sectors such as electronics, defense and aerospace, consumer goods, and healthcare, encouraging India to “chase its motto” of ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat.’ The realization of this potential hinges on the concerted and collaborative endeavors that involve the exchange of best practices and a persistent drive to enhance efficiencies. This collaborative drive encompasses stakeholders from the center, states, industry, and academia, collectively propelling India toward its ambitious additive manufacturing objectives.

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Featured image shows NCAM unveils its new-State-of-the-Art-facility in Hyderabad. Image via NCAM.

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