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The global rapid prototyping materials market size was USD 455.3 million in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 491.7 million in 2021 to USD 1,496.7 million by 2028 at a CAGR of 17.2% during the 2021-2028 period. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with rapid prototyping materials witnessing a negative impact on demand across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of 1.6% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The sudden decline in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
Prior to mass production, rapid prototyping technology is often used to test the capability of materials in terms of their physical properties. On the basis of rapid prototyping material properties, the design engineers are able to produce quality products by saving time, energy, and material. Different types of rapid prototyping technologies are stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), fused deposition modeling (FDM), selective laser melting (SLM), laminated object manufacturing (LOM), and others. A suitable material is used in respective technology; for instance, among different SLS rapid prototyping materials, polyamide 12 is the most popular.
Leading operating companies are introducing advanced material with excellent physical & chemical properties. For instance, in November 2021, Arkema showcased custom UV-curable formulations for 3D printing technology at Formnext 2021 Exhibition held in Germany. The product portfolio includes formulations such as N3D-TOUGH 784, HT-511, DMT-303, IC-163, and LF-053. These formulations are strategically developed to meet the growing requirement of advanced polymer resins for 3D printing technology.
Stoppage in Industrial Activities During COVID-19 Discouraged Market Growth
The progression of the COVID-19 pandemic completely or partially stopped the operation of rapid prototyping end-user in almost all key countries. Production halt in most industries, along with the shortage of thermoplastics, alloys, and other prototyping material, led to the decline in the growth of the global market. Additionally, the global rapid prototyping service providers faced key challenges such as delays in raw material shipments, uncertain downstream demand, restricted access to the manufacturing & operating site, lesser availability of working people, and changes in trade regulation. The reduced operational expenditure by end-use industries affected the investment outlook in advanced 3D printing technologies & new material development. These challenges negatively impacted the demand for rapid prototyping technologies and raw materials.
However, the medical & healthcare sector was minimally impacted across the pandemic, owing to the growing demand for medical devices. According to the United States Food & Drug Administration surveys, the 3D printing technology, including rapid prototyping, helped the country to produce & test necessary medical parts during COVID-19. With the normalization of industrial operation backed by strategic changes in rapid prototyping services, the overall market is expected to recover in the coming years.
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Developing Recycled Material for Rapid Prototyping to Fuel the Trend in Market
Thermoplastics are the largest material used for rapid prototyping. Thus, with the increasing consumption of thermoplastics, the challenge of plastic waste management will become critical. The increasing concern about plastic pollution has led the key leaders to adopt recycled plastics for rapid prototyping. For instance, in March 2021, Covestro, in association with Polymaker, developed a polycarbonate filament suitable for 3D printing technology by waste bottles received from China-based Nongfu Spring. The resultant product showed lesser carbon footprints and is compatible with industry standards. The product was strategically launched for the manufacturers, who are focusing on establishing a sustainable supply chain in accordance with advanced 3D printing & rapid prototyping technologies. In a similar manner, other plastic materials, such as PE, PET, PP, and PS, can be recycled for rapid prototyping product development.
Multiple Advantages Such as Designing of Rapid Prototyping to Drive Market
Rapid prototyping technology offers distinct advantages to the designers, developers, and engineers. Cost and time-efficiency attributes of rapid prototyping could give an edge over the traditional prototyping techniques. On account of the technological advancements in rapid prototyping, the prototype can be developed & tested within hours. For the same prototype, the typical CNC machining or sheet metal fabrication could take weeks due to a critical set of operations & testing. Wide range of materials, geometries, and designs can be tested to achieve the desired end product properties. Easy evaluation & testing allows designers to construct a well-defined roadmap for product refining. This, in turn, significantly reduces the flaws and risks during mass production. The unique combination of cost-effectiveness, functionality, and aesthetics can be achieved with the help of rapid prototyping. Thus, rapid prototyping and materials are gaining popularity, especially in the manufacturing sector.
High Material & Process Cost to Challenge Market Growth
The initial set-up cost of rapid prototyping tools is high. Different factors, including prototype type, material, end properties, and cause & nature of prototype design define the rate or cost of rapid prototyping. Some advanced technologies could cost even USD 100,000. Rapid prototyping ceramic materials and rapid prototyping smart materials are costly in comparison with thermoplastics. The requirement of skilled manpower and technologies increases the overall cost of the operation. In addition, certain disadvantages, such as lag in accuracy & surface finishing, inadequacy in complex designs, and user-designer confusion in terms of objectives, are also restraining the global rapid prototyping materials market growth.
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Thermoplastic Segment to Dominate Global Market During Forecast Period
On the basis of material, the market is categorized into thermoplastics, metal & alloys, ceramics, and others. Thermoplastics are the most adopted prototyping materials, owing to their diversified properties such as high strength, functionality, and durability. Thermoplastics are cheaper and available in wide & suitable range. PA, PE, PEEK, ABS, PC, and PET are a few examples of thermoplastics used to develop prototypes. Bulk availability and continuous technological development in plastic production are expected to drive the segment growth in future. Metal & alloys are also widely used to design industrial & medical prototypes. Aluminum, stainless steel and titanium are commonly used to obtain prototypes with high strength, heat resistance, chemical resistance, and other desired properties. Low quantity OEM ceramic prototypes can be produced with Lithography-based Ceramics Manufacturing (LCM). The others segment includes materials such as composites, paper, and plaster. These materials are consumed in very few quantities and occupy less share in the overall market.
Electronics & Consumer Goods Segment Dominated the Market in 2020
Based on application, the market is divided into construction & manufacturing, electronics & consumer goods, automotive, medical & healthcare, aerospace & defense, and others. The electronics & consumer goods segment held the largest rapid prototyping materials market share of the global market in 2020. With rapid digitization, the adoption of high-tech gadgets & consumer electronic products has increased. Rapid prototyping is used to develop & test wide range of electronic & consumer goods products, from PCB’s to household consumer goods, such as sporting goods. The construction & manufacturing segment is projected to grow at the slowest rate due to sluggish but steady growth of the global construction & manufacturing sector across the world. Automotive and aerospace & defense segments hold a considerably larger share of the market. Rapid prototyping is widely used thoroughly to test the functionality of automotive & aerospace parts before mass production. Increasing research & development activities to produce next-gen vehicles & aircraft are set to drive the growth of these segments. On account of the rapid adoption of rapid prototyping in developing surgical tools & medical device parts, the medical & healthcare segment is expected to indicate the fastest growth in the global market. Moreover, increasing investment in developing advanced healthcare facilities is boosting the demand for advanced rapid prototyping technologies in the healthcare industry. Others segment includes applications such as prototype developments for academics & arts. Others segment held the least share in the market and this trend is projected to remain the same in the forecast period.
North America Rapid Prototyping Materials Market Size, 2020 (USD Million)
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North America is expected to dominate the global market due to well-established 3D printing technologies and larger number of service providers in the region. The market size of North America was USD 175.7 million in 2020. The U.S. is the largest consumer of rapid prototyping technologies across all major end-use industries. Advanced industrial sector, along with massive urbanization, is the main driving factor for the growth of the market. Moreover, the aerospace & medical sector is flourishing in the U.S., which is further expected to grow demand for prototyping materials in the near future.
The compound annual growth rate of the rapid prototyping materials market in Asia Pacific is expected to be 19.8% during the forecast period. On the back of rapid industrialization in the developing economies of Asia, the region held the second largest share in the global market. China, Japan, and South Korea hold a larger portion of the market. The bulk availability of raw material at a considerably cheaper price is favoring manufacturers to simulate & iterate a variety of materials to build functional prototypes for different applications. Also, companies are significantly investing in developing resilient service centers so that the consumers can avail the one-stop solution under one roof.
In Europe, Germany is the key contributor to the market growth backed by increasing demand for rapid prototyping across automotive, electronics, consumer goods, and aerospace & military applications. A strong network of advanced prototyping service providers is the key driving factor for the growth of the Germany market. The country is also projected to register the fastest growth during the foreseeable period. Other countries, such as the U.K., France, and Italy, hold a prominent share of the market. Shifting consumer preference from traditional prototyping methods toward latest rapid prototyping services is estimated to increase the consumption of thermoplastics, metals, and composites in Europe.
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The markets in Latin America and Middle East & Africa are at a preliminary stage and together hold the smallest share in the global market. However, with changing government policies & increasing public-private investment, the overall industrial & manufacturing sector is growing at faster rate. This, in turn, is projected to create lucrative growth opportunities for rapid prototyping materials in these regions. Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa are expected to indicate significant growth in the coming years.
Leading Entities in the Industry are Developing New Material and Acquiring Smaller Companies
Key operating leaders are mainly investing in the development of advanced materials, which can be more efficiently used for rapid prototyping. Major players, such as 3D Systems Corporation, Arkema, Covestro, and Tethon 3D, are focusing on introducing next generation thermoplastics suitable for additive manufacturing, 3D printing and rapid prototyping. In February 2021, 3D Systems Corporation announced plans to develop its headquarter in South Carolina with advanced material development laboratories, training centers, customer centers and also advanced metal & polymer manufacturing facility. Such strategic activities are extending company’s expertise in rapid prototyping technology and consecutively impacting the market growth.
An Infographic Representation of Rapid Prototyping Materials Market
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The global market research report provides both qualitative & quantitative insights of the market across the world. Quantitative insights include market sizing in terms of value (USD million) across each segment, sub-segment, and region profiled in the scope of study. Also, it provides market analysis and growth rates of segment, sub-segment, and key counties across each region. Qualitative insight covers elaborative analysis of key market drivers, restraints, growth opportunities, and global industry trends related to the market. Competitive landscape section covers detailed company profiling of the key players operating in the industry.
Value (USD Million)
By Material, Application, and Geography
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 455.3 million in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 1,496.7 million by 2028.
Growing at a CAGR of 17.2%, the market will exhibit steady growth over the forecast period.
Thermoplastics is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
Rapid product adoption in medical & aerospace industries is fueling the demand for rapid prototyping materials.
North America held the highest market share in 2020.
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