Global 3D Printing Market: Outlook
3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a CAD model or a digital 3D model. The demand for 3D printing has rallied around printing parts and equipment that are in short supply in the fight against the novel Coronavirus. 3D printing provides the opportunity of preparing even the most non-standard and hardly available custom-made elements in a short time. This has reduced the downtime due to missing parts. There are many benefits to using 3D printing, which includes: higher efficiency & speed, fewer errors, lower costs, and lower waste generation. Key industries which have benefitted from 3D printing includes medical, manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, fashion, electronics, and space.
3D Printing Arrives as Solution for Missing Equipment and Components in Production Processes
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, majority of stakeholders involved in aviation, automotive, chemicals, oil & gas and transportation industries, have either halted operations or collapsed badly. However, sectors such as healthcare and food & beverages have witnessed staggering growth. Furthermore, post-COVID the demand for 3D printing has grown to new heights. The demand for 3D printing has rallied around printing parts and equipment that are in short supply in the fight against the novel Coronavirus. In many ways COVID-19 has been the key driver for 3D printing technology, offering solutions by creating parts that have been difficult to procure due to logistical issues across industries.
3D printing provides the opportunity of preparing even the most non-standard and hardly available custom-made elements in a short time. This has reduced the downtime due to missing parts. Challenges related to large-scale production of parts or equipment serves the main restraint for 3D printing industry. These include equipment cost, materials available for different industries, manufacturing costs, post-production requirements, software development capability and lack of expertise. Majority of 3D printer producers are heavily depended on parts supplied from China. COVID-19 has impacted their business severely as they are unable to procure 3D printer parts at an affordable rate.
Functional Parts Manufacturing to Register High Growth
The prototyping segment accounted for the largest market share in 2019 as prototyping process was quickly adopted across several industry verticals. Industries such as automotive, defence, aviation, healthcare and dental rely heavily on prototyping to design and develop parts, components and complex systems with precision.
With COVID-19 the trend in the 3D printing industry is shifting from prototyping to functional part manufacturing for various industry verticals. 3D printed functional prototypes/parts enable real-world product development and testing to take place before costly investments are made in production tooling. Manufacturing as a service (MaaS) of functional parts offers a way for engineers to test designs before manufacturing them at scale. Thus, functional parts manufacturing through the usage of 3D printing is expected to grab additional share in the next few years.
Based on Demand, Asia Pacific to Lead the Market
Europe is the global hub for innovation in 3D printing technology. European patents for 3D printing/additive manufacturing have increased post 2015. In Europe, Germany leads in terms of patents filed each year for 3D printing/additive manufacturing. On July 31st, the Russian state-backed Advanced Research Foundation (FPI) and Federal State Unitary Enterprise (VIAM) tested their 3D printed MGTD-20 gas turbine engine for the first time. In August 2020, Nexa3D launched xCLEAN. This is an eco-friendly cleaning solvent for resin-based 3D printers.
Establishment of new facilities in the U.S., such as the Emerging Technology Centre in Athens, Alabama, is designed to support aerospace, transportation, and oil, gas & energy industries through 3D printing. California has also seen the addition of an Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory (AML), from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) which intends to accelerate research using additive manufacturing equipment. In the healthcare and dental sector, facilities including the Jabil 3D printing centre of excellence, have been established for end-to-end scaled production of medical devices.
China is expected to dominate Asia Pacific market. In 2020, Chinese SLM and SLS 3D printer manufacturer Farsoon, has introduced its latest Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) large-format metal 3D printer, the FS621M. Apple Inc. and Samsung Group is planning to shift production base to India. This provides immense opportunities for players involved in 3D printing for electric and electronic industries in Asia Pacific.
Global 3D Printing Market: Competitive Landscape
Globally, top 3 players involved in 3D printing market are 3D Systems, Stratasys, and Proto Labs. Other key players include: Frasoon, HP Inc., Voxeljet, Materialise NV, ExOne, Organovo, Nano Dimensions, SLM Solutions Group, etc. 3D printing technology is evolving exponentially, and more start-ups are trying to make use of the technology to launch their business with an edge over their competitors.