According to a new market research report on "3D Printing Market [by Technology (SLA, SLS, EBM, FDM, EBM, LOM, 3DP), Materials (Polymers, Metal), Application (Aerospace, Automotive, Consumer, Healthcare, Government & Defense) & Geography (Americas, Europe, APAC & ROW)] (2013-2020)" published by MarketsandMarkets, the 3D Printing Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23% from 2013 to 2020, and reach $8.41 billion in 2020.
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3D printing is an emerging technology with the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. It allows consumers to download designs from the internet and transforms them into physical objects.
Enormous opportunities are present, currently, for the 3D printing industry. It has, now, been realised to be a key source to economic growth, and plays a pivotal role towards the strengthening of the design and online retail market. It offers substantial, eco-friendly benefits, by removing the transportation of goods all across the globe; and allowing new, sustainably sourced materials. It reduces the costs involved in conventional manufacturing process, immensely.
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The 3D printing market is moving at a very rapid pace and is witnessing enormous developments in patent filings. All the key players are investing, immensely, on research and development activities to gain ‘the first mover advantage’. The 3D printing industry is witnessing a binge of new product developments, mergers & collaborations, expansions and other activities in the research and development field.
The roots of the contemporary 3D printing can be was traced back to the mid-1980’s, with the advent of Stereo Lithography (SLA) technology. Chuck Hull, the inventor and founder of 3D Systems,-invented the ‘original’ 3D printing technology; that is, the Stereo lithography (SLA); he led the development of the .stl file format, which still remains the bench mark in ultra-high-definition 3D printing and CAD connectivity, till date. After years of unsuccessful efforts, Hull’s perseverance and inventiveness paid-off when he printed a ‘teacup’. On 3, October 2013, Chuck Hull was being honoured with the “George R. Stibitz Computer and Communications Award” by the Montana state university.
In 3D printing ecosystem, 3D systems offer their services in various industries; and their market focus lies across all the geographies around the world. The company has been spending aggressively on their R&D activities; for instance, the company spent $23.2 million, $14.3 million, and $10.7 million, respectively, on their R&D, in the year 2012, 2011 and 2010. These R& D efforts majorly focus on developing new printers and print materials that augment the company’s product lines and existing capabilities.
3D system has also intensively solidified its reach and product offerings through aggressive acquisitions all across the globe. These strategic acquisitions are projected to help the company to counter potential threat from the start-ups. In the past three years, the company acquired more than 12 competitors, which has resulted into a broad portfolio of products and services, vertically and horizontally. For instance, in January 2012, 3DSystems Corporation acquired Z Corporation (U.S.) and Vidar Systems (U.S.), an optical imaging company Context Group (Denmark), to accelerate growth in the 3Dcontent-to-print market.
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The company has also been focusing on producing large-scale custom parts and3D consumer content products &services. For this purpose, in May 2012, it acquired ‘Bespoke Innovations (U.S.)’, a developer in integrated scan, design, and print technology; to develop and commercialize innovative and tailored prosthetics, orthotics, and orthopaedics—based on the “Bespoke” print technology. Additionally, in November 2011, the 3D Systems Corporation acquired ‘Ren Shape Stereolithography’ print materials and ‘Digitalis Rapid Manufacturing 3DPrinter’product line from the Advanced Materials Division of Huntsman Corporation (U.S.). This acquisition complements 3DSystems’print materials technology, and adds the ‘Digitalis’ print engine to its existing 3D printing solutions portfolio.
3D printing is creating a huge buzz all around the world with its ability to transform industrial manufacturing, along with “on demand” production. 3D printing is present in different industries (such as automotive and consumer products) for a while,now, but huge R&D efforts and government funding is taking this technique to new heights. The advent of 3D printing technologies and materials is driving the growth of this market in almost all industries including aerospace, automotive, consumer products, government & defense, healthcare, industrial/business machines, education & research, and others (architecture, arts & forensics). Among these industry applications, aerospace and healthcare are estimated to be the game changers for the growth of this market. These two industries will be the new revenue pockets for 3Dprinting in the upcoming future.
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Aerospace industry offers tremendous opportunity for 3D printing technologies and holds a promising market potential in the coming future. The ability of 3D printing to create complex and precise shapes,which are very light weight,is the major factor that influences the growth of this technology in the aerospace sector. This technique is used for thelow-scale production of critical components of aircrafts, with high precision and quality. In comparison to the traditional manufacturing techniques, 3D printing reduces the production timelines, as prototypes and direct products are created with exact fit and design in amuch lesser time and less costs than other traditional techniques. GE Aviation (U.S.) and Boeing (U.S.) are among the major companies in aerospace sector that are taking initiatives for promoting the use of 3D printing over traditional manufacturing (injection molding, CNC machining, and so on).
3D printing meets the requirement of individual and customized products; which is expected to make the traditional manufacturing obsolete in the healthcare sector. This technique is basically used as a part of the medical manufacturing process and it facilitates the integration of anatomical data into products tailored to suit the individual requirements. On demand manufacturing, customized implants/surgical guides, ease of manufacturing, and upgradation in material properties are some of the major growth drivers in this sector. Dental, surgical guides, implants, and prosthetics are the major application areas of 3D printing, in this sector. In recent times, theuse of 3D printing in medical applications has revolutionized the concept of surgical treatment, for conditions ranging from hip or knee replacement to dental implants. The market for customized surgical instruments and implants is growing at fast pace in many anatomical areas and with regards to the surgical specialties. Moreover, new applications such as tissue engineering and bioprinting are also rapidly evolving, which has beenresulting in the increased use of 3D printing in this sector.
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