3D Printing 2017-2027: Technologies, Markets, Players
3D printing has received much attention in the press over recent years. Hyped as the technology to bring about a 3rd industrial revolution, 3D printing technologies were in fact invented in the early 80s. They remained a niche technology until the expiration of a key patent in 2009 allowed many start-ups to emerge offering cheap consumer-level 3D printers. A media frenzy in 2012 thrust 3D printing into the limelight and 2016 has seen Hewlett Packard and General Electric enter the 3D printing space. Even after the media hype some market sectors are still reporting huge growth rates.
3D printing encompasses a variety of different printing processes. The processes are all primarily additive in nature, as materials are deposited only where needed, and thus results in significantly less materials wastage than traditional manufacturing techniques. Each of the technologies is suitable for use with a different range of materials, which in turn defines the suitable applications of the printer.
Originally used for the rapid production of prototypes for form and fit testing, applications are transitioning towards also functional testing of prototypes under working conditions, and further, the manufacture of final products.
With 3D printing designs are not constrained by manufacturing limitations and design complexity no longer adds cost. This opens up design avenues and enables the economic production of lighter components, critical to the aerospace and automotive industries. Applications are also emerging in the medical and dental fields, where the opportunity afforded by cheap mass customisation is allowing surgeons to replicate a patient's body based on MRI and CT scans in order to practice difficult invasive procedures, and medical and dental implants which are fully customised to a particular individual can be generated.
This report discusses all of the commercially-significant existing technologies and promising emerging technologies in depth, and analyses both the current and future markets for 3D printing. The market structure is also detailed, and we present profiles of the major players together with insights gained from in-depth interviews with a range of companies involved in 3D printing. We also present detailed forecasts for the future of the 3D printing market.
The following technologies are covered in detail including lists of all major vendors for each technology type and SWOT analyses with quantitative data and references to vendors:
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