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3D Printing Industry In USA worth USD 16B by 2025

The research has shown that the world has a frenzy going on at the moment for the 3-D printer. More and more companies have been investing in the market and there has been a new development every day. With the hope of even more 3-D printed products in the market, consumers are even eager to see the affordable printer in the market. One is thing is for sure, 3-D printing business is the next big thing that is going to take the market to the next level soon in the future.

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Definition / Scope

The process of combining or joining various materials with the help of a computer to form three dimensional objects unlike a bland paper-printing is 3-D printing. This has been one of the most prolific inventions of this century where a prototype can be simply printed at home provided there is a computer and a 3-D printer with the help of Computer Aided Design (CAD). Originally, 3-D printing was referred to as a process where a binder material was deposited on a powder bed layer by layer with the help of an inkjet printer.1 Coming to the modern times, this technique is used in manufacturing various products, be it for fun in a household, school projects for the students or a presentation for scientists and/or businessmen.

Market Overview

After being invented for the first time in the year 1981, the applications of 3-D printing was very limited due to the technological barriers back then. Coming to 2018, scientists have been able to make use of this technique in various fields, from health sector to the aviation, from architecture to arts design or from apparels to jewellery. In the US market, two-thirds of the industries are using this technology in some ways. 2 51% of the users are using it for prototypes of the final product compared to 35% two years ago.

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Key Metrics

Metrics Value Explanation
Base Year 2018 Researched through internet


Market Risks

Even though this state of the art technology is proving highly applicable in almost all the fields, the high cost of 3-D printing might hinder its usage in the industries.

  • The software required to use the printer is expensive and with each application area, the software to print it needs to be changed.
  • The consumption of energy while printing can be 50 to 100 percent more than the normal injection moulding machines, which makes this usable, at the moment, only for small products or small batch.
  • Misusing the technology, guns or even drugs can be printed. The successful testing of 3-D printed gun still has governments in a state of dilemma as to how to deal with the situation.
  • Counterfeiting can be a widespread threat with the challenge of tracing the product becoming near to impossible as a result of cheap and easily accessible 3-D printing.

Top Market Opportunities

Below are the factors which are expected to boom the 3-D printing market in near future:

  • Various vehicular parts can be produced using 3-D printing which saves time reduces the weight, increases performance and fuel economy as a whole. In May 2018, BMW launched a prototype of its new motorcycle which had 3-D printed frame.
  • Various customized products such as toys, decorative, jewellery and more can be produced using 3-D printing. In 2016, a doctor of North Carolina, USA, reconstructed the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) using the 3-D printed metal tools and this proved to increase the success rate of the surgery significantly.
  • Due to 3-D printing technology, various prosthetics and dentistry can be created in reduced time-frame which caters to the patients' need. Such was an instance when in 2016, Bioniks company created a 3-D printed prosthetic arm in Pakistan.
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Market Drivers

In 2016, North America had the largest share in terms of 3-D printing market. With the interest of Government to invest more on this technology in sectors such as healthcare, aerospace and defence, this continent is expected to see further growth in the business.

  • Various companies have already started to use the 3-D printed metals, whose examples can be seen in the agreement between Stratasys Ltd. (US) and Desktop Metal (US) in 2017.
  • NASA has already sent a Zero-Gravity 3-D printer in space to produce rocket parts in orbit reducing risks and decreasing asset costs.
  • US Marine has been using this technology to construct various drones since 2014.
  • The Pentagon has shown enthusiasm on the impact 3-D printer can have on military organizations. The intension were made clear by US secretary of defence in 2014.
  • In August 2015, a 3-D printed drug for treating epilepsy was approved by the FDA which paves the way for the investors to sow more seed-money in the business.

These trends show that the US government has a positive attitude towards the 3-D printing business and hopes to boom it in the near future.

Market Restraints

Even though 3-D printing business is proving to be a booming industry, there lie some legal hurdles on the way.

  • With easy accessibility, anyone could print, produce or manufacture look-alikes of anything they want to. For example, if 'A' buys an authentic branded shoes, goes home and finds the same shoes was printed digitally by his brother for a lot less amount, this results in the company losing a consumer, profit-amount and the market as a whole. This kind of incident also leads to copyright violations.
  • A definite and strict law is yet to be formulated on how anyone can be liable for the litigations that may happen using this technology.
  • Research has shown that the printer emits Ultrafine Particles and Volatile Organic Compounds which can directly harm the lungs of the human body.
  • Currently in the market, the printers are priced at around a thousand dollars and they also are to be self-assembled, which is a hassling process for the consumers.

Also, the printers do not print the product accurately and the cheaper printers, which come around at $300, cannot print any high quality products.

Technology Trends

  • Since 2007, there has been many patents filed and almost 700 patents get filed annually since then.
  • Latest technologies are being proven a boon to the industries but as for the consumers, the softwares are still complicated.
  • 3-D printers are still slow to print even a small object. Depending on the size and type of final product, the printer still takes from hours to even days before the product is ready.

Pricing Trends

  • Starting from less than a hundred dollars for a household printer to more than $10,000 printers for industrial purposes, the 3D printers are there on the market to fulfil everyone's needs.
  • After its invention, the printer was priced at around $300,000 in 1987 and till five years back, the average price was at around $50,000.
  • The trend in pricing shows us that in near future, the cost of the printers are to go down as it is going to become a common household product like cell phone is today.

Market Size and Forecast

The global 3-D printing market was valued at $4,164.2 million in 2014 which is expected to reach a whopping $44,393.1 million by the year 2025, registering a CAGR of 21.8% for the year 2019-2025. The highest contributing continent for that market size was North America with $1,728.1 million in 2014 and this is also to be reaching $16,838.3 million by the year 2025, with a CAGR of 20.8% for the same period of year.

Distribution Chain Analysis

As innovative and a boon as it can be, 3-D printers were not common that much in the past but with the top 3 manufacturers providing the printers to industries in an accessible way, there has been a rapid increase in its use.

Competitive Landscape

These are various industries devoting their time and money in providing 3-D products and services to the consumers, fighting for the top positions. Ranging from education to the aerospace, from healthcare to automotive, companies have now started to involve 3-D printing in day-today lives as well. Be it a favourite cartoon character, a movie character or prosthetic limbs or auto-parts, rocket-frame, jewellery, one can easily manufacture these today with the help of the products companies are providing in the market.

Competitive Factors

Companies like HP, Stratasys have been pouring in their valuable time and money in search of a way to provide the 3-D printing services and products to the consumers in affordable prices and hassle-free software. However, the hurdle still remains on how a company can provide such services without health hazards, legal problems and losing market share. While Proto Labs expanded its capacity with a new facility in Minnesota in 2018, a company called Materialise teamed up with HP in May 2018 for the production of 3-D printed shoe insoles.

Key Market Players

  • HP, with its world's first state-of-the-art laboratory for the development of the materials and applications of 3-D printing, has more investments in this technology.
  • Proto Labs has been one of the leaders in helping engineers and designers manufacture products in small scale after it launched its 3-D printing services in 2014.
  • Since 1983, 3D Systems has been in the market providing 3-D products and services and continues doing so till date.
  • Stratasys, since 1988, has been in the healthcare, aerospace, education and automotive markets. With many subsidiaries, it also holds over 600 granted patents till date.
  • Materialise has been in the 3-D printing market for over 25 years and has since been providing its service in healthcare and aerospace market.

Strategic Conclusion

In today's market, a consumer not only looks for the affordable product, but also wants that product to be easy to use without any hassle. The software one tends to use should not be a complex one and if the companies can provide the products that are easy to use in a household, a bit more expensive one does not hurt a consumer. When one wants an action figurine in their hand without having to go outside to purchase, people tend to go for the product that can help them with this. The amount of investment companies have been doing in this technology prove that this is a booming market to have your share in.

The favourable government policies, inclination of industries to the 3-D printed materials than the traditionally manufactured ones are the signals this market is going to show some good profit in the near future for the industries and a giant leap for the consumers in term of technology.

Further Reading

Appendix

  • 3-D: Three Dimensional
  • CAD: Computer Aided Design
  • ACL: Anterior Cruciate Ligament
  • FDA: Food and Drug Adminitration
  • UFP: Ultrafine Particles
  • VOC: Volatile Organic Compounds
  • CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate
  • HP: Hewlett-Packard


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