Additive manufacturing has ‘potential to reshape manufacturing ecosystem’

According to two new reports recently released on Additive Manufacturing (AM), the technology, also known as 3D printing, has a bright future. A new report from Lux Research (www.luxresearchinc.com) titled, “Building the Future: Assessing 3D Printing’s Opportunities and Challenges” projects that 3D printing will grow to an $8.4 billion market in 2025 – up from $777 million in 2012. However most of this will be in industrial and medical applications with consumer applications having a “limited upside.”

“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 lead author of the report. “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.”

One impetus to growth is the fact that 3D printable materials will fall in cost as the actual amount of 3D printable materials sold will increase at the same 18% rate as the overall market—from 880 tons in 2012 to 9,700 tons in 2025. “However, the total market value for materials will grow at a lower 11%—from $142 million in 2012 to $579 million in 2025—as the entry of new suppliers drastically reduces current markups,” said Lux Research.

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