As Quoted In Modern Materials Handling
Rapid gains in 3D printer demand will be driven by professional uses such as prototyping, and by the manufacture of direct production parts and finished goods.
World demand to rise 21% annually through 2017
World demand for 3D printers and related materials and software is projected to rise 21 percent per year to $5.0 billion in 2017. While professional uses such as prototyping will continue to account for the majority of demand, the more rapid growth will be seen in production and consumer applications. 3D printers will increasingly be used to manufacture direct production parts and finished goods in a wide variety of applications. In the consumer segment, projected price drops in desktop 3D printers will motivate purchases by hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers.
Plastics to remain most common printing material
Robust growth will be seen in demand for printing materials, as the rapidly expanding installed base of 3D printers fuels related materials consumption. Plastics such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polylactic acid (PLA), and nylon were the first types of materials used in 3D printing, and remain the simplest to work with. Plastics will continue to account for the majority of materials demand, but faster growth is projected for metals, based on their greater strength and resistance, as well as rapid gains in markets such as aerospace. Demand for software and other 3D printing products such as 3D scanners will grow in line with the overall average, supported by the ongoing need for technological updates and upgrades.
Medical, dental market to be among fastest growing
Some of the fastest growth will be seen in the medical and dental market, with especially good opportunities expected in dental applications such as braces, prostheses, crowns, bridges, dental aligners, and models for dental restoration procedures. Other significant markets for 3D printing products include consumer products (e.g., jewelry, toys, fashion clothing, consumer electronics), automotive, and aerospace. For instance, in 2013 General Electric announced plans to use 3D printers to produce fuel nozzles for its next-generation jet engine. These nozzles are expected to be lighter and stronger than those produced using conventional production techniques.
US to remain top market
The US will remain by far the largest national 3D printing market in the world, accounting for 42 percent of global sales in 2017. In developed areas such as the US and Western Europe, 3D printing market value will be supported by the growing presence of metal-based 3D printers for the production of finished parts, as such systems are significantly more expensive than plastics-based 3D printing systems. Rapid gains are expected in China, where most applications center on design, sample testing, or prototyping.
This study analyzes the $2 billion world 3D printing industry. It presents historical demand data for 2002, 2007 and 2012, and forecasts for 2017 and 2022 by product (professional, production, consumer), material (e.g., plastics, metals), market (e.g., consumer products, automotive, medical and dental, aerospace), world region, and for 14 countries.
The study also considers market environment factors, details industry structure, evaluates company market share and profiles 40 industry players, including Stratasys, 3D Systems and EOS.