Oct 23, 2015 | By Kira

Though individual 3D printer manufacturers will always have their ups and downs (ahem, MakerBot), a reassuring new study from the International Data Corporation (IDC) asserts that not only is the United States the world's largest market for 3D printers, driven by a host of global 3D printer manufacturers setting their sites on the Land of Opportunity, but also that 3D printer hardware revenue is expected to approach $1.5 billion by 2019.

The research goes on to reveal that FDM/FFF (Fused Deposition Modeling) is the largest technology within the 3D printing market, and that FDM/FFF 3D printers have seen explosive growth among suppliers. We can’t say we’re surprised—3DHubs October 2015 Trend Report showed that the three highest rated desktop 3D printers worldwide, the Prusa Steel, Rapid Lite 200, and CEL Robox, all use FDM technology. Manufacturers seeking faster build speeds are also turning to dual-extrusion 3D printing, an emerging technology offered by an increasing number of suppliers.

Aside from FDM, SLA (stereolighography) 3D printers are also being widely explored—in part due to the fact that key patents expired in 2014, and due to the increased printing speed and build size promised by the laser-powered technology. Some of the most popular SLA desktop printers are of course the Form 1, Form 1+, and recently released Form 2. Together, FDM and SLA are by far the largest 3D printer segments in terms of US shipments, with SLS (selective laser sintering) making its mark as the smallest but fastest-growing technology.

The IDC also predicts that new high profile players entering the market, such as HP with their MultiJet/PolyJet technology, will fuel a growth rate of more than 30% per year between 2014 and 2019—which, when you think about it, is right around the corner. The IDC study, titled U.S. 3D Printer Forecast, 2015–2019, covers 3D printer shipments and the revenue derived by those shipments through the year 2019.

This news is not only relevant to the United States—which of course has the advantage of being home to Silicon Valley and a relatively healthy economy that puts a huge premium on technological advancement. A recent study by global consultancy firm A.T. Kearney predicted that the 3D printing market worldwide is set to triple in value over the next couple of years, reaching an astonishing $17.2 billion by 2020. Similarly optimistic reports have recently emerged from Gartner, who has said that the worldwide shipment of 3D printers will reach 496,000 by 2016; and Market Research Reports whose studies show that the 3D printing materials market could overtake the 3D printer market by 2023, and reach $8.3 billion by 2025.

All of this is exciting news for 3D printer and 3D print material manufacturers, suppliers, and of course, users, all around the world. The question is no longer if 3D printing is the next manufacturing revolution, nor when it will take hold. Rather, we should be focused on which existing 3D printing technologies will continue to rise, and which completely new techniques could be introduced in the near future.



Posted in 3D Printer



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