The Growth of 3D Printing: What the Future has in Store?

3D printing is on everyone's mind nowadays. With an estimated annual growth of around 30% and a market share worth 4.1 billion, 3D printing is expected to reach the mark of 21.2 billion in the next five years. In practice, this will need larger as well as more sustainable investments in technology as is the case with any manufacturing industry.

Though most people, even today don't own a 3D printer in their home, the technology has come pretty far, chiefly regarding customer awareness. Gartner published a report recently that features a chart showing the evolution of emerging technologies right from its beginning to mass adoption. The report also predicts when each technology will be mainstream. While Gartner predicts that it will be around five to ten years before this technology takes off with the consumers, 3D printing has moved quite fast through the first few stages of Gartner's hype cycle.

3D Printing Industry Expected to Quadruple by 2020

3D printing can produce everything right from car to human stem cells. Additive manufacturing or global industry for 3D printing stood at $4.1 billion in 2014. The industry experienced annual growth of around 33.8 percent in the course of last three years. It is quite hard to find another industry with around 25 years' experience and a growth like this, pointed out Terry Wohlers, who had been tracking additive manufacturing industry growth since long. The 3D printing industry started in 1986 and in 1995, was worth only $295 million. The market for 3D printers, services and associated materials is anticipated to grow around 56% this year.


Joe Kempton, the research analyst of Canalys has pointed out, "As we expected, the 3D printing market has grown substantially over the past few years. We have seen improving print speeds, a wider range of materials and new forms of additive manufacturing methods".

3D printing is actually a technology that allows designing objects using software followed by manufacturing making use of a layering strategy. It is actually a prototyping process; here the real object is created of a 3D model. The 3D model can either be a scan or drawn making use of computer assisted design. It can also be downloaded from the internet.

The people in 3D printing believe, "If you can draw it, you can make it”.

Promising Future of 3D Printing

The experts say, 3D printing, when combined with the internet can rewrite history. Things can be downloaded and printed easily. Additive manufacturing allows printing real life products as well as part replacements in office and home. The chief requisite here is a 3D printer that allows to print objects in three dimensions and printing materials like wax, ceramic, plastic and metal. The process, however, is quite long and it may take hours or even days to print the 3D models. Moreover, a small mistake can render the print absolutely useless. The high cost of these printers is also a drawback.

3D Printing Evolution is Expected to Continue

The 3D printing evolution will continue challenging not just traditional manufacturing but also cast an impact on the medical, automotive and several other industries. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, as much as 67% manufacturers are already using this technology. One of the most significant applications of 3D printing is in the health industry. With the aid of 3D printing, the surgeons can produce mockup parts of patient's body that is to be operated on.

Almost everything, right from components of aerospace to toys, can be built with the aid of these 3D printers. This can also be used for art and jewelry, fashion designing, architecture and interior designing. 3D printers will continue falling in price, improving in speed and quality. The automotive, aerospace and the medical sectors will continue being chief revenue drivers going forward over 5 years.

With the aid of 3D printing, companies of today can experiment with design variations and new ideas with little expense. BMW, Boeing and General Electric have already invested millions of dollars in this technology and are regarded as some of the most interesting of our time. Though this is a fast moving sector, the market is still in its infancy. We expect to see the new entrants making a significant impact in the coming years.

Information shared by Icreate3d

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