3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file by laying down layers of a material in succession. Unlike traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing enables one to produce complex shapes using less material which is one of the key factors that are attracting a large pool of manufacturers. Currently, the 3D printing market growth is primarily driven by the Aerospace and manufacturing industry where the technology is majorly being used for prototyping, tooling, and creating complex geometries. Its adoption is growing at an exponential rate owing to the increasing number of industries like healthcare, construction viewing it to innovate the process within their respective industry. Thus, players in this market are continuously working towards proliferating 3D printing technology not only at industrial level but also for personal use which is boosting the market growth. For instance, in March 2019, Boston-based 3D printer manufacturer Mark forged has launched its additive manufacturing program to accelerate the adoption of 3D printing in the industry, thus overcoming the barrier to its adoption. Also, in May 2019, Materialise NV has partnered with HP, Nikon, and Essentium to bring improved productivity and connectivity to additive manufacturing operations. Therefore, 3D printing is set to grow at a staggering rate during the forecast period owing to automotive and healthcare industry set to leverage the technology for the mass production of various components.
Increasing investment in research and development
Growing competition across industries like manufacturing, automotive, construction, and healthcare among others is increasing the focus of industry players towards improving margins by reducing manufacturing costs. Cost of labor and materials are some of the major contributors to the overall manufacturing cost and as industry players continue to realize the potential of additive manufacturing technology to offer a significant reduction in these costs, the demand for 3D printing solutions is growing at an exponential rate. In order to remain globally competitive and to tap the potential this market holds, market players are investing heavily into research and development to fuel innovation and develop efficient 3D printing solutions using advanced technology, thus capable of offering high value to the customers. For instance, DNV GL announced a collaboration with Sembcorp Marine for investing in the establishment of Global Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Singapore which is sought to serve as an incubator for R&D of additive manufacturing technology for the oil and gas, and offshore and marine (O&M) sectors. Earlier in February 2017, Oerlikon announced the expansion of its global additive manufacturing (AM) business through the opening of an advanced R&D and production facility in North Carolina, U.S. Along with this; new players are also attracting huge funding to augment their 3D printing technology across industries. For instance, in September 2019, Freemelt announced the completion of a $1.6 million capital investment to drive the metal 3D printing revolution forward using its open-source electron beam melting (EBM) 3D printing technology. Thus, similar investments across the world are driving the adoption of additive manufacturing solutions by the industry players, thus favouring the 3D printing market trend.
By component, the hardware segment holds the major share in the market owing to the growing demand for 3D printers for both industrial and residential uses, as multiple industries are adopting 3D printing solutions to produce parts and components. As the hardware is still relatively high priced, multiple smaller businesses are adopting 3D printing services to assist their manufacturing process, rather than investing in the hardware itself, thus boosting the service industry significantly. 3D printing materials market is estimated to witness the fastest growth in the coming years on account of increasing investment and focus towards development of the 3D printing materials to enhance the 3D printing speed, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness which can benefits various industries. The software segment is also estimated to hold a decent share in the market; however, its growth is hindered by the concerns regarding piracy and availability of multiple free software alternatives.
Impact of COVID-19
The spread of global pandemic COVID-19 has caused the disruption in manufacturing plants, broke the supply chain and the global lockdown has led to the restriction in production facilities. The crises that world have never experienced before having forced companies to review their current methods and adopting new tools and technologies such as 3D printing. The healthcare industry is one of the best served sector that is using the additive technology during the period of pandemic and after witnessing the various shortages it is expected that companies will shift their focus towards the development of 3D printing technologies after Covid-19. Even, the additive manufacturing and 3D printing community is making many efforts to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, recently The European Association for Additive Manufacturing (CECIMO) is responding to a request of European Commission to aid in producing medical equipment which include valves and ventilators.
- April 2020: the developer of a metal composite 3D printing technology, Velo3D that supplies 3D printers to SpaceX raises US$28 million in funding.
- December 2019: The Lighting Research Center (LRC) in Troy, New York signed a deal with Eaton Corporation, the American multinational power management company for the development of a full 3D printed LED-integrated luminaire which is funded by the United States Department of Energy.
- December 2019: Swiss SLS 3D printer manufacturer named Sintratec entered a collaboration with Daimler AG, the German multinational automotive corporation for supplying spare parts using Sintratec’s S2 3D printer.
- December 2019: GE Healthcare signed a partnership with FormLabs to accelerate additive manufacturing of anatomical models used by surgeons to prepare for the procedures.
Currently, 3D Printing is revolutionizing the whole semiconductor and IOT industry. The increasing investment in research and development by major market players coupled with growing government support and initiative is expected to drive the growth of 3D printing market. Also due to the rapid adoption of 3D printing technologies in various end-user industries like healthcare and automotive the market is anticipated to grow at an exponential rate during the forecast period.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rajat Sudan is a Market Research Analyst at Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence, working on estimates and global/regional specific reports on multiple industries ranging from semiconductor to food and beverage, with a special knack for packaging and ICT. With the addition of his formal education in Economics, Mathematics, and Finance, he is able to provide more light on the macro aspects of the story. To read more articles by him, and for more information regarding multiple global markets, visit https://www.knowledge-sourcing.com.