Multiple applications fueling the 3D printing market to grow at CAGR of 16.8% from 2013 to 2019

Transparency Market Research, U.S.-based market intelligence firm recently published a report titled “Global 3D Printing Market – Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2013 – 2019”.

According to the report, the global 3D printing market was worth US$2,200 million in 2012 and is expected to grow at a rapid pace during the forecast period, registering a CAGR of 16.8% from 2013 to 2019. The report assesses the global 3D printing market with special focus on geographical segmentation, technologies involved, and applications.

3D printing refers to additive manufacturing that uses the process of layering printing material in order to create 3D objects.

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To put it simply, 3D printing is a technology that makes three dimensional objects from a digital file.

The output is achieved through an additive process which cleverly places thinly-sliced horizontal cross-sections made out of 3D printing material, one on top of the other until the desired object is created. The salient features of 3D printing are translation of code into visible pattern, material cartridges, and flexibility of output.

Though the 3D printing market is still in a nascent stage, analysts predict it will successfully catch up with a frenzied fervor as several industries are adopting this technology. The biggest advantage 3D printing offers its users is the elimination of expensive tools, molding, and labor as objects can be customized as per need.

3D printing has also enabled users to cut down on material wastage, create high-performance products as compared to traditional manufacturing, and improve efficiency by saving time.

Three-dimensional printing technology has found apt usage in rapid prototyping, customization, expediting manufacturing processes, and mass production of certain items. As the manufacturing industry holds a promise of robust growth in a recovering economy, the need for 3D printing is only going to rise.

In the coming years, 3D printing will have a huge impact on the commercial and personal application segment.

The global 3D printing market is segmented on the basis of its usage, the technology it uses, its application in various industries, and geography. On the basis of use, the global 3D printing market is divided into commercial and personal.

The technology segment is inclusive of polyjet, FDM, SLS, SLA, and others. 3D printing is being popularly used in industries such as automotive, medical, consumer products and electronics, aerospace, architecture, education, and others.

Geographically, the global 3D printing market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World.

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One of the important growth drivers for the global 3D printing market is the increasing use of this technology in the aforementioned applications, with special focus on the automotive, consumer products, and medical sectors. In addition, as more and more users now have access to 3D printing services or 3D printers, the usage of this technology for personal use is also on a rise.

Despite such strong reasons for growth, the global 3D printing market faces certain restraints. A huge limitation for the growth of this market is the infringement of intellectual property while duplicating a certain product.

Some of the lucrative opportunities for 3D printing market would be to tie up with manufacturers who want to strategize by customizing products such as in the automobile sector or healthcare field.

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Pakistani Students Create 3D Printed Mobile Obstacle Avoidance Robots with Help from LearnOBots

learnobots3From my talks with several CEOs of large 3D printing companies, one topic always comes up, one that many of these companies are very passionate about. That topic is 3D printing in schools. It is inevitable that 3D printing will make its way into schools all around the world, but the question that remains is, “when?” Many schools in the United States, Europe, and Asia are already implementing 3D printing into the classroom environment, but the one major obstacle that still remains is that of utilization. How do educators build lesson plans and curricula around the technology in a way that will benefit students not only today, but in the future as well?

Pakistan is an up-and-coming nation when it comes to education. The country still maintains a very high illiteracy rate, but those numbers are tarnished by the older generations. School-aged children have a literacy rate almost twice that of their parents and grandparents.

learnobotsMany schools in Pakistan are really beginning to do an excellent job at modernizing the education system. Schools are beginning to focus more on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curricula, and in doing so, technology has become a big part of education. One research company in particular, called LearnOBots, seems to be at the forefront of introducing technology into the classroom environment, and 3D printing is a big part of their ideology.

“LearnOBots was founded to inspire Pakistani kids towards STEAM education,” explained LearnOBots’ co-founder Shamyl Bin Mansoor to 3DPrint.com. “We use open source software and open source hardware to create products that we use to teach kids about STEAM. In Pakistan buying toys, tools and electronics that are usually imported is very difficult for most people as it is usually expensive due to additional import costs and tax. Our goal is to make technology and tools accessible locally so that we can inspire kids through Maker Education. 3D printing is helping us build these tools locally instead of mass manufacturing or importing from China.”

3D printing is huge for LearnOBots, and is increasingly so for Pakistan as a country. LearnOBots has teamed with schools to offer interesting workshops for educating children using 3D printing technology. While LearnOBots offers five different workshops for schools, including construction of LEGO Mindstorm Robot kits, the assembly of electronic snapcircuits, and the creation of solar houses, 3D printing also plays a major role. Two workshops in particular are based around 3D printing, one being a workshop on creating 3D printed mobile robots.

learnobots5Using a RepRap Prusa i3 FFF-based 3D printer, LearnOBots 3D prints a mobile robot from Thingiverse. Then they add Arduino to it, as well as several sensors. This goes along with a curriculum that they developed which teaches kids the basics about robotics and electronics.

“We also teach kids 3D modeling, using TinkerCad from AutoDesk,” Mansoor told us. “There are a number of useful tutorials that help the kids in quickly grasping concepts like creating basic shapes, moving around in the 3D environment, handling the camera, etc. The kids then design their own model which they 3D print on the printer. Our goal is to promote a local maker community that not only uses 3D printing, but [also] learns to make stuff, and as a result learns all about STEAM.”

The latest project was the aforementioned 3D printed mobile robots which are constructed to work their way around obstacles. After building and programming their robots, students race them to see whose can get to the finish line first. See video below:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xMUO4S2L2M?rel=0]

This provides students with a means of education that is both useful and fun at the same time. It should be interesting to see how this develops over the next few years, as Pakistan’s school system is definitely improving, thanks in part to workshops like those provided by LearnOBots.

learnobots2

What do you think? Should more schools around the world be utilizing 3D printing technology like LearnOBots is doing in Pakistan? Discuss in the 3D Printed Mobile Obstacle Avoidance Robot forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3D Printing News: The Biggest Takeaways From EuroMold 2014

In the following video, 3D printing specialist Steve Heller reports from the floor of EuroMold 2014, the world’s largest 3D printing conference, held in Frankfurt, Germany, to share his biggest takeaways from attending the event.

In Steve’s opinion, 3D printing as a technology appears to becoming more widely accepted, which is resulting in a more mature conversation among attendees. Additionally, metal 3D printers are becoming more capable and focused on direct manufacturing applications, academic research firms are driving new innovations, and the industry as a whole may face increased competition thanks to attractive growth rates.

Going forward, 3D printing investors and industry watchers should monitor developments that come from industry conferences like EuroMold because they may uncover insights that could be difficult to discern from only reading a press release.

A full transcript follows the video.

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgkQTvwuMXs?fs=1&hd=1&feature=oembed]

Steve Heller: Steve Heller here, EuroMold day three; we’re doing the takeaways. I’ve had time to go through the event. This is the largest 3D printing conference in the world. We’re in Frankfurt, Germany. It’s Thanksgiving Day, but we’re not done yet!

Let’s get into it. Some of the biggest takeaways I’ve seen this year, talking with the vendors and the employees of various 3D printing companies, the conversation that they’re having is much different than it was a few years ago.

A few years ago at EuroMold, people were just awestruck by the technology. They just didn’t really know much about 3D printing, and they didn’t have much of an understanding of what the possibilities were. They didn’t have their expectations set.

Now it seems that there’s more of an acceptance of 3D printing. This EuroMold hall is packed with 3D printing providers, so it seems like it’s more of an accepted industry, technology, for manufacturing and prototyping.

Now, instead of the conversation just being, “What is 3D printing?” it’s about why and how. “How can this benefit my operations? Why should I implement 3D printing?”

One of the biggest reasons is — prototyping is the best way to explain this — rapid iteration. Bringing your products to market faster is one thing, but also let’s say you have a product deadline and you want to bring a product to market in eight months. Instead of sending out for prototypes, you could 3D-print a prototype multiple times, and by the time you actually reach your deadline you can have a finished product that could be better because you’ve had more rapid iterations at a much cheaper price because there’s no tooling required.

Moving on there… in terms of metals, definitely a very interesting showing there between EOS, a German-based company. They’re No. 1 in metal 3D printing. I got to go to their press event. It was very interesting to learn that they grew revenues by about 36% year over year. There’s about a 50/50 split between metal and plastic machines. Being No. 1 in metal, they sold about 150 units.

The other [company focusing o metals] is 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD  ) . Their ProX 400 is a massive 3D printer. It has the largest builder of any 3D printer. I believe it’s 500 mm x 500 mm x 500 mm build volume, and it has a dual laser system which increases throughput.

Getting back to EOS here for a moment, EOS has a single laser system today. Their relentless emphasis on quality is what has made them No. 1. They have about 1,500 units installed worldwide, between their nylon and plastics and metal 3D printers.

They expect the split to be — right now it’s about 60% plastic and nylons to 40% metal in terms of their install base — they expect that to grow significantly. Going forward in the next year or two, they’re going to come out with a four-laser system that’s going to be four times as fast. Obviously, that lowers operating cost, that increases throughput, and that overall makes a better product, so 3D Systems’ ProX 400 at the time this EOS machine comes out may actually be not as compelling a product.

Going forward, in terms of most exciting for me — what really stole the show for me — I got to speak with this academic research group called TNO. They’re based out of the Netherlands. They’re self-funded, but actually, there’s a law in Netherlands government that there should be independent research institutions.

What they do is bring proof of concepts to the market. Right now, one of their proof of concepts that I thought was really interesting was very similar to 3D Systems’ “racetrack” design for Project Ara, which is basically a 3D printing platform that’s [meant for] rapid manufacturing.

The way that it works is, instead of the print heads moving and creating layer by layer, the print beds actually go around on a track and they visit different print head stations. That makes a 90% increase in throughput [in terms of print heads being in use], and makes it just a faster [by a factor of 10], better product overall in the experience for the manufacturing floor.

Overall, in terms of what this means for 3D Systems and everything in between, I think that 3D Systems isn’t the only company out there that’s actually offering this “racetrack” solution in the future.

TNO is actually looking for collaborators to bring it to market. They have the proof of concepts. Now they’re looking for a partner to actually bring this product to market, so 3D Systems’ product may not actually be as differentiated as it’s claimed to be.

Then in terms of some of the least exciting things, we’re in Hall 11. This is additive manufacturing; it’s crowded, there’s definitely a buzz, there’s a lot of energy going on over here.

Hall 8 though, which is the traditional subtractive manufacturing, those big CNC milling machines, pretty quiet; a little bit more low-key. It’s more of a mature industry. Just seeing the dichotomy between the two, I think was very interesting.

In terms of another overall theme I think investors should watch out for, the 3D printing industry is inviting a lot of competition because its growth is expected to be tremendous. Wohlers Associates projects about 31% growth, compounded every year between 2013 through 2020.

It’s going to become about a $20 billion industry, according to their estimates. That’s a pretty big number, and that’s inviting some big competition. When you have increased competition, that tends to drive prices down for the customer, but that may be hard for the businesses to manage.

Thinking about pricing pressures going forward, I don’t think we’re at the point where we’re seeing pricing pressures, but I think that that is going to be a theme that will potentially play out over the next few years.

That’s it for our takeaways from EuroMold 2014. Thanks for watching.

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