3D printing with such polymers as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, polycarbonate and polyamide is already generating business, with additive manufacturing experiencing compound annual growth of 29.4% during 2011, according to Wohlers Associates. "Instead of merely printing a picture of the design, [engineers] are able to 'print' an actual production part for use in an automobile, jet engine, operating room or other application," said Thomas Hughes, program director for open innovation at PolyOne. "Another option is to 'print' the tooling required to mass-produce parts."

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