3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing or desktop fabrication, is a process that allows manufacturers to create 3D solid objects by using a digital model or file and printing materials. The materials that are commonly used for 3D printing include ceramics, metals, polymers, etc.
The 3D printing technology is being increasingly adopted across several industry verticals mainly due to various advantages offered by the technology, such as low manufacturing cost, improved quality, faster production, less wastage, ease in manufacturing complex designs and customized products, and sustainability, among others. As a result, the technology has found wide applications in various industries like aerospace, healthcare, consumer products, electronics, and automotive industries.
The rising application of 3D printing technology, especially in sectors like automotive and healthcare will drive the growth of the global 3D printing market in the coming days. The global market is projected to reach about $42.9 billion by 2025, at an impressive CAGR of 23.3% during 2019 to 2025. The high growth rate to be registered by the market can be mainly attributed to the increasing adoption of the technology in various industries, government investments in 3D printing projects, and development of new industrial-grade 3D printing materials.
As 3D printing enables the development of customized products, its application will further increase in areas like complex bio printing and development of personalized prosthetics. Further, a significant surge in the adoption of 3D printing will take place in the automotive industry, as this technology enables the manufacturing of lightweight vehicle components. This, in turn, helps reduce the weight of vehicles and increase fuel economy considerably. Increasing adoption of 3D printing in the automotive industry will play an important role in the growth of the global 3D printing market.
The use of 3D printing in the healthcare industry will also increase significantly in the coming years, which will give a major boost to the global market. Bio-implant is an emerging technology in the healthcare industry and 3D printing can help reduce the time and cost required for artificial production of body parts. Such technological advancements will provide lucrative growth opportunities for the 3D printing market.
However, the high cost associated with 3D printing may slow down the growth of the global 3D printing market to some extent. Further, the 3D printing process is associated with high energy consumption and the software required to run 3D printers is quite expensive, which makes the entire 3D printing or additive manufacturing expensive. This can limit the adoption of 3D printing in many industries.
However, increasing research and development activities for developing new and improved technologies will provide immense growth opportunities in the global 3D printing market. Region-wise, North America held the largest share in the global market in 2017, and this trend is likely to continue in the coming years as well. The Asia-Pacific region is also expected to display impressive growth by registering the highest CAGR in the coming years.
The major players operating in the global 3D printing market are, Stratasys (US), 3D Systems (US), EOS GmbH(Germany), GE Additive (US), and Materialise (Belgium), Arcam AB, Autodesk, Inc., Stratasys Ltd., The ExOne Company, Hoganas AB, Optomec, Inc., Organovo Holdings, Inc., Ponoko Limited, and Voxeljet AG.