Perspective: The Rise of 3D Printing in CEMA: Moving Beyond the Technology Hype in Manufacturing
Although commercial use of 3D printing is still rather limited, it is a unique technology that has gained high levels of public awareness. A number of 3D printing fairs worldwide, a flood of articles on the Internet, and, recently, affordable devices and models aimed at home use have all contributed to the market excitement around this technology. Many startups in this emerging industry have successfully leveraged the early hype and developed their own knowhow and are now influencing the 3D printing market. The global market is becoming concentrated, with increasing mergers and acquisitions, which can be interpreted as a move beyond the hype stage to the stage at which a more significant customer base is attracting large 2D printing vendors.
Markets in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (CEMA) have been influenced by these developments. IDC Manufacturing Insights and the Imaging Printing and Document Solutions Department of IDC CEMA therefore decided to attend the third annual 3D printing conference entitled "3D Printing — Trends, Experience and Business Opportunities," which took place as a part of the International Engineering Fair, Brno, the Czech Republic, in September 2014. This event is outstanding in Central Europe in terms of scale and importance, with leading vendors and service providers and technology end users all participating. This year, the conference clearly focused on presenting 3D printing success stories, sharing user experience, and showing the real benefits of using 3D print technologies. In this Perspective, IDC Manufacturing Insights highlights the most valuable observations from a one-day visit to the event, provides an additional overview of current 3D printing usage among CEMA manufacturers, and concludes with takeaways for the use of this technology.