Nov.18, 2013

The global market value of 3D printers is forecast to grow at a 20.4 percent compound annual growth rate to US$4.45 billion in 2016 from US$2.15 billion in 2012, says Taiwan's MIC (Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute), an ICT industry research institute based in Taipei.

The institute thinks the overall 3D printer development is promising, including entry-level 3D printers that are often priced below US$5,000. Those entry-level 3D printers posted a sales volume of 5,900 units in 2010 and jumped up to 35,000 units in 2012, witnessing a nearly sixfold growth in two years.

Diversified applications

MIC's research indicates that 3D printers are mainly used in consumer goods (29%), followed by automotive (19%), medicine (13%), education (10%) and aerospace (8%) and industrial engineering (7%). The applications of 3D printers can be categorized into three areas: production and manufacturing, specific use, and office use.

MIC's industry consultant, Tony Wu, declares that those low-priced 3D printers are often for office use and are mostly favored by 3D print fanatics. 3D printers in this category are mainly designed for initial modeling. Wu says with the growing sales of high-end 3D printers, more companies tend to develop 3D object editing software or provide 3D printing service.

3D Software

3D object editing software is expected to have a tendency toward bipolarization, says Wu. The high-end software will be mainly used to support professional production and manufacturing in medicine, military, aerospace, engineering, and education.

Wu further stated that there is a growing trend of providing entry-level 3D editing software for free. In the future, there may have a large number of free entry-level 3D editing software for users to download, with application coverage targeting mainly at consumer goods.

3D Services

The 3D services mainly include 3D modeling, editing, printing, and scanning services. With more free access to applications Wu expects the 3D printing services tend to explode. "Taiwan has 15 to 20 companies that have devoted themselves to the services." Wu says.

Variety of 3D printers

Looking ahead at the next two to three years of 3D printing development, as low-priced 3D printing model becoming popular, it is expected that printer vendors will launch more different type of 3D printers that are capable of building objects out of metals, ceramics, resins, plastics, nylon, ABS plastic and wax to meet the market demand. And these low-priced 3D printers will also have high diversity in features, print quality and print speed.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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