Additive Manufacturing in the United Arab Emirates

Additive Manufacturing in the United Arab Emirates

A few years back his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced the launch of the ‘Dubai 3D Printing Strategy”. The initiative’s impact is relevant not only to Dubai but resulted in a much wider shift in how additive manufacturing is being viewed in the entire GCC. By putting Additive Manufacturing (“AM”) on the agenda of His Highnesses focus and as one of the main pillars of the Dubai Future Foundation resonated not only on Dubai and UAE based companies, but we started seeing organisations in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and other countries explore how the technology can be utilised and how it can add value.

Although Additive Manufacturing has been around commercially since the mid 1990’s, its awareness in the region has been very limited and adoption was relatively non-existent. Over the past decade AM adoption within certain sectors and in certain countries was rapidly gaining momentum and was being integrated into assembly lines in production of final functional parts. Companies such as Boeing and Airbus, Caterpillar, Mercedes Benz, among many others start utilising Additive Manufacturing in their operations at a growing rate. Based on the current rate of adoption, AM is on its way to capturing at least 5% of the USD 12.8 trillion global manufacturing economy, representing a value of USD 640 billion.

We expect that in the GCC and more specifically the UAE the value proposition that AM presents is higher than what the global average is. Applied to the UAE, where the manufacturing industry constitutes 9% of the countries USD 350bln GDP, Additive Manufacturing should create a USD 1.6 billion market opportunity today. If we include the complementary industries required to support AM, we can expect another USD 800mln opportunity.


The value of AM for a city like Dubai doesn’t rely solely on the manufacturing sector, but actually has more of strategic value. Dubai is a regional hub for logistics and supply chain, in addition to being the regional centre for most international OEM’s and MNC’s. One of the areas that AM will have a direct and noticeable impact on the UAE is supply chain and inventory management. Virtual inventories or what we call ‘digitizing inventory’ has direct financial benefits for all types of companies and industries. A high number of multinational companies are venturing into virtual inventories and this is a field that will see Additive Manufacturing becoming a key enabler technology along with the software systems that support it. UPS acquired a multi-technology specialized 3D printing service provider, and in partnership with SAP launched a service called ‘Direct Manufacturing’, which offers companies actual real-time JIT part production. GE Additives started certifying AM providers in different markets to produce parts on their behalf. Over the next few years, this service is projected to grow exponentially and disrupt a number of sectors including logistics and warehousing, redefining the meaning of ‘Just In Time’ production. The UAE, with its modern infrastructure, accessible markets, strong workforce and available resources, is perfectly positioned to become a regional centre for AM production. In the same way that Jebel Ali Port transformed Dubai into the regional re-export hub for global companies, AM will enable the UAE to become the manufacturing platform for AM parts in the region.


UAE Manufacturing Sector in 2017 around 9% of GDP

There are two direct impacts on the UAE economy from additive manufacturing that is not currently acknowledged. Using 3D printing for direct manufacturing of certain finished products and using 3d printing technology to enable virtual inventories. Those two activities alone can add over 1% (US$3.0 billion) to the UAE’s GDP right away.

In figures:

Global Economy is US$80Trillion

Manufacturing is c. 16% or US$12.8Trillion

If 3D Printing captures just 5% of manufacturing, it creates a US$640+ billion market opportunity (data and research shows the figure is approaching 5%)

Direct Manufacturing

UAE Economy is US$350Billion

Manufacturing is 9% or US$31.5 billion

If 3D Printing captures just 5% of manufacturing, it creates a US$1.6 billion market opportunity

Digitizing Inventories

Global Inventory is over US$10 trillion (or 12.5% of global economy)

UAE inventory (extrapolated) between US$24 billion and US$43 billion

If 5% of that is captured by 3D printing (direct manufacturing from digital inventory) creates market opportunity of between US$1.2 to US$2.15billion

Between Direct Manufacturing using 3D printing and Ancillary AM Production Services, 3D Printing can add US$3+ Billion (1%) to the UAE GDP within a very short period of time.

Below is link of an interesting article by Mercedes on 3d printing for reference

other articles to reference

Areas for Additive Manufacturing in the United Arab Emirates 3D Printing in Oil & Gas