3D printing landscape and opportunities
Mar 19, 2014 Raghu Das
According to research by IDTechEx in the report 3D Printing 2014-2025: Technologies, Markets, Players, the market for 3D printing equipment, materials and software will grow from about $1.5 billion this year to $4 billion in 2025.
Growth will be led by the sectors transitioning towards the use of 3D printing for final product applications, which will include the medical/dental sectors, jewellery and design art manufacturers, and in the longer term, the aerospace industry. However, the automotive industry will remain the largest client sector throughout the period considered.
3D printing type
Through to 2025 the Stereolithography (SLA) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) approaches will continue to enjoy the majority of the share of the market, although significant growth will occur with the laser and electron beam technologies, albeit from a much smaller installed base.
Market growth for 3D printing will not be monotonic however as the technologies ultimately lock into the capital expenditure cycles associated to many of the industries it serves, including in particular the aerospace and automotive industries which together account for a significant proportion of 3D printer sales. As penetration of these markets continues and increases, fluctuations in sales will eventually manifest and the market is expected to fall somewhat in the near term as a number of capital expenditure rounds come to an end.
A breakdown of the market according to printer sales, services, and material sales is shown below for 2014.
Source: IDTechEx report 3D Printing 2014-2025: Technologies, Markets, Players
The number of 3D printer manufacturers has seen relatively steady growth since the technology was first commercialised in 1986. There have been occasional closures, sometimes driven by litigation rather than lack of revenues/potential revenues. There has also been some acquisition activity, particularly over recent years, as the larger companies (notably 3D Systems and Stratasys) have sought to increase their range of technology offerings to clients, opening up new market opportunities. Key patents are expiring over the next few years which will fuel more new entrants - and M&A activity for the biggest who seek to retain their market share.
3D printing research
The IDTechEx report "3D Printing 2014-2025: Technologies, Markets, Players" provides detailed forecasts, technology analysis, and supplier profiles of the 3D Printing market through to 2025. It gives a global, impartial view into the opportunities and real state of the industry, providing clarity amongst the excitement. For more details see www.IDTechEx.com/3D.
3D Printing Live!
On November 19-20 leading innovators in 3D printing will come together in silicon Valley at one of USA's leading conferences on emerging printing technologies; see www.IDTechEx.com/3Dp-usa. 3D Printing LIVE brings the world of 3D printing to a whole new audience representing the range of new and emerging printing technologies, as well as current and potential new end-users.
Attendees at the conference will gain a comprehensive understanding of the state-of-the-art in 3D Printing, with end-users across a range of application areas reporting on their experiences, requirements and present the latest technological advances.