Additive manufacturing opportunities for Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors

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Agribusinesses across Australia have unique characteristics and challenges, which the increasing availability of new technologies may address in new and effective ways. In particular, additive manufacturing (AM; also called 3D printing) is a set of fabrication technologies that provide an effective response to many of these challenges.

In combination with the increasing digitalisation of production systems, AM and Agriculture 4.0 can provide substantial benefit to the entire supply chain. However, AM utilisation requires a substantial change in thinking about design and fabrication. This report discusses AM in the context of Australian agriculture and provides insight into the opportunities and methods of adoption. The report identifies AM enablers and success factors.

The report found Australian agribusinesses can benefit from additive manufacturing in several areas. Remote and on-demand production of replacement components or no-longer-supported equipment offers near-term and direct opportunities. Tailoring of additive manufacturing processes and materials to specific agribusiness needs in bespoke or semi-bespoke application areas offers opportunities in the medium to long term, with appropriate investment and cocreation by suppliers and users.

The primary limitation for current adoption is knowledge and experience with the technology, partly because there are few, if any, suppliers in the agriculture sector. Increased activities are recommended to educate and support agribusinesses and technology suppliers to bridge this gap.

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