The "technology, media and telecommunications (TMT)" at Deloitte announced its predictions in 2012 for future developments and trends within the global technology, media and telecommunications industry. Jolyon Barker, global lead for Deloitte's TMT, comments, "This year's predictions cover a range of topics, including the demand for consumer technology, the rise of the multi-tablet owner, 3D printing and the growth of big data."
Deloitte expects that the market for 3D printing will double this year. 3D printing has caught a lot of attention of the public but it still belongs to particular niche market. The 3D printing concept is suitable in a few market such as £14 billion global power tools market, DIY hobbyist, biomedical sector and after-market support chains (auto repair and small appliance).
In 2012 the total sales of 3D printing will likely remain below $200 million. Some may praise that 3D printing is the next step towards democracy but it is far from ready. 3D printed products are currently not cheap, sustainable and only practical for simple products.
Mass production is still cheaper than the 3D printed products - if a consumer prints dinner plates at home it will cost 30 times than buying the products in the shop. The current 3D printing technology has several significant limitations. 3D printers are not capable of producing complex electronic components, products requiring multiple materials and multiple colors, or items made of "synthesizing" materials. The processes used in 3D printing are not able to reach the requirement of these products.
However in 2012 3D printers will still enjoy its success among hobbyists, artists, crafters and determined consumers, since the price of 3D printer has dropped to below $1,000.
Commercial 3D printer will likely grow and general most revenue in 2012. It can be expected that price of some commercial 3D printers will drop down to $10K. Meanwhile the range of materials is expected to broaden, and printing accuracy will be higher. The industry that will likely adopt 3D printing is after-market service industry like garages that instead of having stocks for spare parts a 3D printer will print them on demand.
So if anyone is expecting to print anything imaginable that is just too early. A 3D printer can print the cases of smart phone but not a whole smart phone yet.
Posted in 3D Printing Technology
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