Jul 13, 2018

From within the 3D printing industry it is clear that additive manufacturing is growing in terms of its applications and adoption, though it is still always interesting to put some cold hard numbers to the industry’s growth and worth.

According to a recent update to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide, European purchases of 3D printers, materials, software, and related services are expected to reach total $3.6 billion in 2017. The IDC report projects that the combined spending on 3D printing for Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe will experience a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.3%, with revenues reaching $7.4 billion in 2022.

The Worldwide Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide was designed to help IT decision makers to clearly understand the industry-specific scope and direction of 3D printing expenditures today and over the next five years. According to the guide, western Europe is by far the largest contributor in the wider European region and delivered 83% of total European 3D printing revenues in 2017, growing at a CAGR of 14.4% for 2017–2022. However, Central and Eastern Europe will be the fastest-growing region with a CAGR of 19.1% for 2017–2022.

2018 will be a turning point for 3D printing market. "3D printing has the potential to expand the manufacturing industry, shift distribution locally, and implement on-demand production, reducing unnecessary inventories and shipping costs," said Julio Vial, research manager, European Imaging, Printing and Document Solutions, IDC. "It will enable mass customization and printing of different products while reducing costs and recycling excess printer powder. Product weight can also be reduced, and fewer tools will be needed because 3D printers can replace some of them."

The IDC report encapsulates spending within various areas of the 3D printing industry including hardware (i.e. 3D printers), software, 3D printing materials, and 3D printing services. Though 3D printing hardware generated the largest spending in 2017, the focus on materials will drive associated spending in the coming years, with a CAGR of 20% in the forecast period, exceeding the hardware component. Services such as consulting and system integration services will remain a key part of the market.

The IDC also identifies which manufacturing sectors are spending the most on 3D printing technologies. Unsurprisingly, discrete manufacturing, the production of distinct items such as automobiles, furniture, toys, smartphones, and airplanes etc, had the most significant 3D printing spending, accounting for more than half of total spending on 3D printing in the wider region in 2017, with a CAGR of 14.5% for 2017–2022. The automotive and aerospace subindustries are the biggest contributors while the medical sector is expected to develop further in the next few years, with a projected 19.5% CAGR in the forecast period.

Other notable sectors, such as healthcare and professional services, are already using 3D printing, with spending at over 10% of the total market. Healthcare providers will adopt internally and develop direct skills and capabilities around 3D printing. They are expected to grow their spending in 3D printing, with a CAGR of 20.9% from 2017 to 2022.

The top 3 use cases that generated the largest revenues for 3D printing in 2017 in Europe were prototypes ($755 million), aftermarket parts ($522 million), and architectural designs/models ($353 million). The IDC report predicts, in 2022 prototypes and aftermarket parts will remain the top 2 use cases, followed by dental objects and medical support objects. Over the forecast period, the fastest-growing use cases will be tissue/organ/bone, dental objects, and specialty food, with compound annual growth rates above 20%.

More than 17% of respondent organizations in Western Europe are adopting or planning to adopt 3D printing in 2018. In the forecast period, medical/healthcare-related use cases will show the biggest growth and, in 2022, dental objects and medical support objects will become the third-largest use cases in Western Europe.

"There is a growing number of start-ups, many of them using EU funding, specializing in 3D printing services. EU funds are the main driver for this technology in Central and Eastern Europe," said Evelin Stoev, senior analyst at IDC.

However, the IDC report also points out that "many traditional manufacturing companies, being locked in the old ways of doing things, do not have time to experiment with new technologies like 3D printing, nor to research emerging use cases in the market — and this is the major inhibitor to faster penetration of this technology in the region. This means that major gaps in 3D printing experience relative to Western Europe and especially the U.S. and Japan will be hard to close in the near future."



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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