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Auto, aero sectors will fuel $8.4 billion 3D printing boom: report

Three-dimensional printing will grow into an $8.4 billion market in 2025, up from $777 million in 2012 with industrial uses generating the majority of that value, according to a new study from Lux Research in Boston.


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April 9, 2013 by Canadian Plastics

Three-dimensional printing will grow into an $8.4 billion market in 2025, up from $777 million in 2012 with industrial uses generating the majority of that value, according to a new study from Lux Research in Boston.

The study points to the automotive, aerospace, and medical sectors as the biggest adopters of the technology, which is also known as additive manufacturing.

“3D printing offers design flexibility and rapid implementation, but development needs remain in materials performance and printer throughput,” said Anthony Vicari, a research associate at Lux Research and the lead author of Building the Future: Assessing 3D Printing’s Opportunities and Challenges. “Over the longer term, 3D printing has potential to reshape the manufacturing ecosystem, but it will have the most impact in the near term for products that are made in small volumes, require high customization and are more cost-tolerant.”

The study drew the following general conclusions:

Cost reductions for raw materials
The actual amount of 3D printable material sold will increase at the same 18 per cent rate as the overall market to 9,700 tons in 2025 from 880 tons in 2012. However, the total market value for materials will grow at just 11 per cent to $579 million in 2025 from $142 million in 2012 as new suppliers will reduce current markups.

Low volume production will increase
Low-volume manufacturing will boom to $1.1 billion in 2025 from a niche market of $1 million in 2012 led by aerospace engines and automotive components.

Medical market is set to soar
As prices of 3D scanning technologies, printers, and materials fall, there will be rapid and widespread adoption for medical applications. The market – which is still in its infancy and worth $11 million in 2012 – will grow to $1.9 billion in 2025.

Consumer market will remain a niche
Consumer applications attract hobbyists and artists, but 3D-printed consumer goods were only a $17 million market in 2012, led by $10 million from custom jewelry. This market will grow to $894 million in 2025, but remain small relative to industrial uses

The full study is available, for a fee, at this link.