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June 29, 2023 | Information & Technology
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a fabrication method where a 3D object is formed through a series of consecutive layers. In recent years, 3D printing has evolved steadily, establishing itself as a more widely applied industrial manufacturing process.
COVID-19 and geopolitical & economic uncertainties have increased the adoption of 3D printing, primarily in developing resilient supply chains and enabling local, on-demand manufacturing. Although the interest in 3D printing solutions spiked, business disruption, including capital expenditure limitations, lack of automation, skilled employees, and other related factors resulted in slower 3D printing growth in the past few years.
However, in 2020, the industry regained the spotlight as urgent manufacturing needs were met with innovative 3D printing solutions. Therefore, the industry witnessed widespread recognition and started taking strides in developing the market's growth.
According to the Hubs survey conducted in February 2022, more than 60% of respondents said they utilized printed production parts using 3D printing solutions in 2021 than in 2020. Further, the respondents also claimed fewer barriers in their 3D printing process. For instance, only 22% of engineering firms witnessed the pricing of 3D printing to be an obstacle, down from 38% in 2020. These insights showcase promising growth for the market in the coming years.
According to Fortune Business Insights Analysis, the global 3D printing market in 2022 was valued at less than USD 20 billion and is projected to cross USD 100 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 25% over the forecast period. This market value was significantly driven by the sale of hardware components of 3D printing, showcasing a notable increase in industrial 3D printer shipments. However, this increase was still less than the pre-pandemic growth rates.
Further, Europe and North America represent the largest additive manufacturing market share. These regions lead the market as several companies that engage in addictive manufacturing innovations and investments are headquartered there, making them the sources of technology advancements.
There are a large number of established players in the market, including General Electric, Renishaw plc., 3D Systems, Inc., and others. The below chart highlights the percentage of market players across regions in 2022.
The market is majorly driven by the rapid rise in digitization and the increased adoption of advanced technologies across industries. 3D printing is widely applied across industries, including automotive, aerospace, healthcare, and others. These industries constantly adopt evolving 3D printing technologies to cater to their users' changing requirements. For instance,
Currently, the market is governed by prototyping applications. The below pie chart showcases the responses to the Hubs survey conducted in February 2022. The chart depicts that 62% of respondents used 3D printing only for prototyping.
Source: Hubs Survey (February 2022)
Furthermore, the chart depicts that the users majorly opted for 3D printing for production purposes. According to Jabil 2021 study in 2019, 52% of respondents were using 3D printing in production, while in 2020, the number jumped to 62%. These responses validate current trends for three prevailing 3D printing production applications such as low-volume production, mass customization, and serial production.
3D Printing Trends: What's Driving the Growth?
The market players are investing in upskilling and training employees and users for the evolving technology. Further, application-driven production is gaining traction as all the factory concepts are application-driven. This trending strategy is expected to digitize industrial production, including optimizing industrial 3D printers, periphery, and post-processing. Additionally, the Additive Manufacturing market witnesses more investments in the sustainability space. These investments support the current trend for an environment-friendly ecosystem. To support this, numerous manufacturers are using data machines developed on the manufacturing workflows and processes to help them achieve the efficiency of their manufacturing processes for the end-users. Moreover, 4D printing and hybrid material innovations are gaining traction, promising the growth for the market in the coming years.
Exploring the Latest Market Developments
The exhibits mentioned above highlights the value chain ecosystem and the players in the 3D printing space.
3D Printing to Revolutionize the Manufacturing Space!
With such significant investments and advancements in 3D printing, the market is expected to flourish in the coming years. The market players are recommended to implement well-managed business ecosystems over classic organizing structures. For example, managed ecosystems comprise several partners who contribute their expertise in co-innovating and developing new solutions and services.
The market players have been demonstrating this strategy by engaging in strategic mergers and acquisitions. For instance,
These recent developments validate the market is restructuring and beginning to take steps that lead the race to mature the market.
Moreover, according to our analysis, industrial production requires automation at its end-to-end workflow for the market to grow significantly, from pre-printing to post-processing. Additionally, as end-use production applications increase, scalable quality control will be an essential consideration. The use of 3D printing process data, simulation software, and the implementation of scalable testing solutions can achieve the execution of strategic quality control. Furthermore, manufacturing companies are facing difficulties in seeking qualified and trained employees. The market will notice an essential requirement for trained staff in the coming years.
Furthermore, in 2021, the market witnessed the availability of advanced materials for 3D printing applications, including polymers, metals, composites, and ceramics. Increasing consumption of 3D printing materials is expected to drive down the pricing barriers of the market. Additionally, the market is expected to scale rapidly with the global push from governments. For instance,
As the industry progresses toward its maturing stage, the market will witness industry verticals overcoming their challenges to adopt the technology; the adoption rate will be increasing in the SMEs space along with rising investments in 3D printing solutions and the use of advanced materials for 3D printing. Therefore, 3D printing will likely become a norm and is expected to revolutionize the manufacturing ecosystem.