Sep 4, 2014

The 3D printing market is maturing rapidly, "as attention and influence shifts from the companies that manufacture these amazing devices to a broad range of industries where the technology is finding distribution and practical applications". That's one key finding from a new study by the marketers and data journalists at Appinions, released this week.

The momentum that 3D printing is enjoying is highlighted by the diversity of industries that earned spots in the report, which includes firms and executives from retail, traditional manufacturing, automotive, aviation, finance, construction, and electronics. Pure-play 3D startups like Formlabs, CreoPop, Shapeways, and Sculpteo remain an active part of the conversation as well.

The report lists the 'Ten Most Influential Companies' including Autodesk, Amazon, Home Depot, GE and Makerbot (recently acquired by Stratasys).

Retail made a particularly strong showing, led by Amazon's recent introduction of a 3D printed items marketplace, which propelled the retailer to the #2 spot among companies. Amazon's Marketplace Sales Director Petra Schindler-Carter ranked as the #1 most influential executive. The introduction of Amazon's 3D Printed Products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail, and sellers and manufacturers can offer more dynamic inventory for customers to personalize their own product.

A lot of attention focuses on any traditional firm that begins talking about 3D printing. Intel recently showed an interest in the technology, which garnered a big reaction for the technology giant. Intel showed off its fully customizable, 3-D printable robot kit Jimmy in May, and plans to bring Jimmy to market by the end of the year, with a price starting around $1,600. Intel will offer schematics and AI code free online so that people can 3D print their own.

Manufacturers aren't the only ones getting attention. Partners and companies involved in selling 3D printers are just as relevant. Home Depot scored a seventh place in the list of the 10 most influential companies, as it has partnered with MakerBot to bring 3D Printers to customers. Big moves by outsiders like Home Depot and Staples are really reordering the industry. Staples SVP Damien Leigh ranked as the #2 executive for his role in brining '3D print on demand' to their stores.

The report also shows that Makerbot is fumbling, despite their brand recognition, and is now only the number 8 company in the field. This is due to attacks from both above and below. Heavyweights like 3D Systems, Amazon, Home Depot and Staples are attacking them from on top; while new startups like MCor and Formlabs are shaking things up underneath them, adding an innovative dimension to the market.

"It's impressive to see the diversity of players that are putting their weight behind 3D printing," said Larry Levy, Founder and CEO of Appinions. "This is still new technology and a young market, but with such diverse leaders already willing to accept 3D into their businesses, we expect only dramatic acceleration and further adoption for the next 12 months."


Posted in 3D Printing Technology

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Steve Roberts Fripp Design and Research wrote at 9/5/2014 10:42:55 AM:

What utter nonsense this is. For me, the most influential input to 3D Printing is Gartner and their report about the state of consumer 3D Printing. What everyone forgets, who do not understand what 3D Printing is really all about, that 3D Printing is NOT a natural extension of 2D Printing. Any of us can 2D Print because we are all programmed with 2D brains. It's called text, drawing and picture taking (which we then insert into a document to 2D Print). To 3D Print requires years of training, training to understand the impact of gravity on printing in 3D, training to understand the constraints of the materials used and the impact it has on the functionality of the part being produced, training on the constraints of the software you use to create the 3D object in the first place. I agree about Avi, disagree about Meg (what does she know about 3D Printing?) and I would have included Scott Crump and Al Sablani

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