17 July 2017
The global 3D printer market continues to grow with sales up 18 per cent in 2016.
Demand for 3D printers is strongest within the Asia-Pacific region. However, the North American market, despite a small recovery, still saw sales down from the previous 12-month period, according to research firm IDC.
Shipments in specialist manufacturing for the technology sector saw the largest growth at 30 per cent. Meanwhile, sales of powder-bed fusion-based printers increased by almost 40 per cent.
Keith Kmetz, program vice president-3D printing at IDC, said:“3D printing will enable revolutionary opportunities in commercial and industrial applications, with earliest success in manufacturing and healthcare. Our predictions create a framework for IT and line-of-business executives to plan and execute technology-related initiatives in the year ahead.”
According to IDC, ‘Discrete Manufacturing’ is the dominant industry for 3D printing, delivering more than two thirds of all worldwide revenues through much of the forecast.
While all the industries examined will experience revenue growth of more than 100 per cent over the forecast period, healthcare will leap from the number five position in 2016 to the number two spot in 2020, with revenues growing to more than US$3.1 billion.
IDC said the gains in both software and on-demand parts printing are being driven by the rapidly expanding use of 3D printing for design prototyping and products that require a high degree of customisation in non-traditional environments.
Another report on the 3D printing market by Markets and Markets predicts that the sector will be worth around US$30 billion by 2022.
The desktop 3D market is expected to see the highest growth rate with the education sector driving growth.
Laser metal deposition (LMD) printing technology will also continue to grow, resulting in a reduction of material waste during the printing process, tooling costs and cost of repairs.