‘The Economist’ referred to 3D printing as the ‘Third Industrial Revolution’ in 2012. Very soon, the media and the investors became charmed with the technology that has the potential to revolutionise the very way the things are made as well as the way the inventory is managed and to usher in a new world of mass customisation.
During that time, the investment implication appeared staggering; Worldwide manufacturing produces around $12.8 trillion in economic output every year; a small chunk of this may add up to big profits for a handful of printing stocks that existed during that time.
With continual media coverage and investor excitement, the 3D printing stocks witnessed parabolic rise, reflecting optimism about the promising future of this technology.
Overview of the Present Condition of the 3D Printing Industry
You must be thinking 3D printing is facing a hard time with the goodwill of the 3D printing giants like Stratasys and 3D Systems rapidly dwindling in the market. The reality is quite different; 2016 is looking up to increasing the sale of 3D printers that have been in full swing since the last decade. The industry sales will trend upwards till 2019, and thus, we can safely point out that there isn’t any problem in the 3D printing industry now. It’s just that two larger companies in the industry are struggling. The smaller printer manufacturers are reporting huge profits and they are turning up as major players presently in the industry.
However, we are certainly not saying that the path to 3D printing is free from bumps. Though the 3D printer sales are growing now, they had reduced a bit last year. This is probably just a natural slowdown with the market beginning to redistribute itself.
Let’s take a look at the key areas of the 3D printing industry that offers plenty of opportunities.
Medical 3D Printing Application
Medical 3D printing applications are presently expanding rapidly and they are expected to revolutionise the healthcare industry. Medical uses, both actual as well as potential can be organised into a few broad categories that include
- Organ and tissue fabrication
- Customised prosthetics creation
- Implants and anatomical models
3D printing application in medicine provides several benefits. These include
- Personalisation and customisation of health products, equipment and drugs
- Cost efficacy
- Enhanced productivity
- Enhanced collaboration
- Democratisation of manufacturing and design
Metal 3D Printing
If there was one application that turned up a clear winner, it is none other than metal 3D printing. Metal additive manufacturing is expanding at a rapid pace now throughout a huge variety of adopting industries.
The technology was on everyone’s radar. As the process becomes integrated into the aerospace and automotive workflow, we can hope it will be in greater demand in the next year. The industrial uses of 3D printing are really worth taking a look since most of the machines here are capacitated to produce quality end use products.
3D Printing Materials
The materials available for 3D printing have come a really long way since the earliest days of the introduction of this technology. A huge variety of material types are necessary now and are supplied in different forms including a filament, powder, granules, pellets, etc. Specific materials are now developed for different platforms performing dedicated applications.
With the industrial usage of 3D printing continuing to grow, it is not tough to guess that several options must be available for the industrial applications. It is now time that the material manufacturers offer several options as it is the case with other traditional manufacturing procedures. The more significant players in the industry have already begun working on increasing the material option. And we can expect this trend to continue this year as well.
The 3D printing industry has long been pretending that it is not in need of any quality software solution. To take a 3D design from CAD software to a complete 3D printed part, the users were often required to depend upon several programs.
In 2015, several new functions have been added to the CAD software package that is making 3D printing easier.
The requirement for 3D software is growing with the market of the 3D printer users witnessing massive growth.
With so many benefits, it is safe to assume that the above-discussed segments of the 3D printing industry will either grow dramatically or, at least, remain strong this year. It’s now time to choose the industry you would like to invest in.