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The global 3D printing (3DP) market is estimated to reach USD 23.79 billion by 2025, according to the new report conducted by Grand View Research, Inc. This technology is also called Additive Manufacturing (AM), is referred to as a procedure that produces parts through the successive addition of layers of materials in various 2D shapes. The layered 2D shapes are built upon one another to form a three-dimensional object. The process is different from the subtractive method of production where one begins with a block of material and grinds out unnecessary materials to obtain the desired final shape of the object.
The industry is well-established in the industrial sector owing to enhanced product manufacturing and time required for a product to reach the market. This technology is widely adopted in the industrial vertical, which is expected to lead to the largest market share of 3D printers in industrial applications. Additive manufacturing, which is the industrial version of three-dimensional printing, is anticipated to reach maturity over the forecast period.
However, desktop 3D printing is likely to hold a promising future owing to the growing popularity of the technology among hobbyists, innovators, and the education sector for technical training and domestic/personal uses. The technology is expected to be highly touted for its economic advantages rather than being perceived as a labor-intensive industrial manufacturing technique. Local shops that install 3D printers and offer 3D printing materials, filaments, 3D modeling, and 3D printer software have become an alternative business model, especially in developing economies such as Brazil, South Africa, and India.
The market is fragmented into three major application areas, namely prototyping, tooling, and functional part manufacturing. Apart from the industrial vertical, the automotive, healthcare, and aerospace & defense verticals are the strong adopters of the technology. Manufacturers in these verticals emphasize on the accuracy of operations, enhancement in product designing, and reliability offered by the parts, coupled with the time required for the product to arrive the market and expenditures involved in the production. Benefits offered by the technology are expected to lead to increased applications in these industry verticals in future as well. Moreover, factors such as intensive R&D along with heavy investments carried out by the public and private sectors are expected to result in numerous advancements in 3D printers and related technologies, owing to active government funding and initiatives carried out by developed economies.
North America held majority of the market share in 2016, accounting for more than 35.0%. The large market share is attributed to the extensive adoption of 3D printers for 3D designing, 3D modeling, and 3D manufacturing of objects in several sectors. The Asia Pacific region has significantly emerged as a large manufacturing hub on account of the presence of a huge consumer base and surplus foreign investments in the region, thereby portraying a remarkable growth over the estimated duration.
3D printing is a capital-intensive technology and bears a few disadvantages, such as misconceptions among manufacturers about prototyping. Furthermore, the market currently lacks standard process controls and skilled workforce. These factors currently hamper the market growth; however, they are anticipated to be overcome over time owing to increasing government initiatives and growing awareness among individuals regarding the benefits of 3D printers.