Jun 3, 2014

The global market for 3D printing is set to reach $7 billion by 2025, which includes a conservative estimate of $3 billion for bioprinting, as forecasted by IDTechEx.

IDTechEx released a report on May 22nd that outlines how 3D printing processes are being used in various industries today and how industries will be using the technology in the future. The report points out that traditional applications such as prototyping continue to grow but many emerging applications will also be commercialised.

"The sudden growth in 3D printing was driven by the expiration of key patents that allowed dozens of small companies to start producing cheap desktop 3D printers for consumers. This fuelled a media frenzy that thrust 3D printing into the limelight decades after its original commercialization." notes the report.

For example, newcomer Makerbot quickly overtook established players 3D Systems and Stratasys in terms of both installed base and proportion of Google searches:

Proportion of Google searches for three main players

This report shows the hype around consumer printers is dying out but will soon be replaced with hype around 3D printed critical components in commercial airliners, fully-printed rocket engines, 3D printing in schools and universities, animal-rights-friendly bioprinted human tissues for drug toxicity and cosmetics testing and, ultimately, 3D printed electrics and electronics starting with the replacement of wiring with functional 3D printed enclosures containing embedded conductive pathways.

"Wave after wave of 3D printing applications are moving out of R&D and each will get its 15 minutes of fame. This cycle will continue for at least another ten years as a long list of applications are rolled out commercially one after another."

See the figure below where IDTechEx has pinpointed the current status of existing and emerging 3D printing applications along a hype curve.

3D printing application hype curve Source: IDTechEx

IDTechEx predicts that as early as 2020, new applications of 3D printing will begin to displace even the highest-value existing applications. By 2025, most of the market value in 3D printing will be from applications that are not commercially available today.

"Sectors covered include aerospace, automotive, architecture, art, consumer, clothing, education, gadgets, hobbyist, justice, medical and sport as well as prototyping. Applications involving the 3D printing of thermoplastics, photopolymers, metals, ceramics, foods, plaster and concrete are described."

IDTechEX pointed out there will be huge potential of 3D printed electrical components:

"Many potential applications of 3D printing are still in the lab. 3D printed electronics has huge potential but is still embryonic in terms of development, with main players taking their first steps by 3D printing conductive and insulating materials into a single object. 3D printed electronics, including 3D printed transistors, will not be fully realised within ten years but some emerging medical applications will be commercialised well before 2025. With huge markets and minimal competition, these applications will grow very fast and quickly displace traditional engineering applications of 3D printing."

The full picture, from aerospace to biotech, covering 101 different companies involved in all existing 3D printing applications. is given in the IDTechEx report, Applications of 3D Printing 2014-2024.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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John Doe wrote at 6/24/2014 12:51:35 AM:

This hype curve is not helpful for anything, whoever came up with it was like ... "hmm, let's see, since I can't get data I'll make it up"

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