General Studies Paper 3 (Science & Technology)
Question:- 116. Describe additive manufacturing and its applications. Discuss the features of National Strategy on Additive Manufacturing. Answer in 250 words.
Nov 16, 2022


Additive manufacturing,  also known as 3D printing refers to the construction of a three-dimensional object from a digital 3D model by adding materials layer by layer. It uses computer-aided designing to make prototypes or working models of objects by laying down successive layers of materials such as plastic, resin, thermoplastic, metal, fiber, or ceramic. With the help of software, the model to be printed is first developed by the computer, which then gives instructions to the 3D printer.



3-D printing reduces overall construction cost significantly and brings down the related carbon footprint. It also increases productivity of labour involved and offers raw material flexibility/utilisation of eco-friendly materials.

3-D printing has a variety of applications which include  prosthetic limbs and other body parts, homes and other buildings, food, medicine, firearms, liquid structures, glass products, acrylic objects, movie props, musical instruments, clothing, medical models and devices.



  • 1.The Strategy aspires to achieve 5% of Global AM market share and thereto add nearly US$ 1Bn to the GDP by 2025.
  • 2.Innovation and R&D ecosystem will be encouraged in PPP mode to transform existing research knowledgebase to develop Additive Manufacturing grade materials, 3D printer machines and printed indigenous products for vast domestic and international market in various sectors including electronics, photonics, medical device, agro and food processing etc.
  • 3.A dedicated National Centre with the participation of all stakeholders will be created. This centre will act as an aggregator of knowledge and resources to accelerate technology adoption and advancement.
  • 4.It aims to create eco-system for creation of nearly 100 new Start-ups, 10 AM sectors and 1 lakh new skilled manpower, besides, development of 500 AM products and 50 Indian AM technologies on material, machine, process and software.
  • 5.In addition, awareness for adoption of AM products to facilitate this growth will be created.



However, there are many challenges on the way as

  • 1.3D printing is a very niche and new domain, there are no global qualifications and certification norms.
  • 2.Another challenge is to convince the industry and ministries to push for its adoption in their respective sectors as any new technology, which is not understood easily, faces a tough time.
  • 3.Risk of Job Losses stands as a perceived challenge in the short run.
  • 4.Although actual printing is cheap, parts to build a 3D printer are very expensive as the equipment and manufacturing costs are very high.



Despite the challenges, 3-D printing seems to be gradually flourishing in India. Recently, rocket engines and their parts have been efficiently developed using this technique giving a major boost to 3-D printing industry in the country. More applications are being worked upon and the technology is conceived to provide major benefits.