We all know that 3d printing is becoming popular, but do we know the speed at which the industry is growing and what the gurus predict to be the growth rate in the future. According to a recent study the 3d printing industry which includes the sales of 3d Printers, Raw material used for 3d printing and other related services were pegged to grow annually at the rate of 15.7%. The annual sales of 3d printers were $2.204 billion in 2012 with 7,771 industrial units and 35,508 personal systems units. According to the same study if there is no major pit fall to the world economy, forecasts for the next five years to 2019 the industry revenue would grow to $3.0 billion.
The profits will increase due to economies of scale and higher demand; the 3d printing industry will also lead to higher employment and more companies entering into this industry.
Now that we have ascertain that the growth is real let’s find out the catalyst to this growth of 3d printing industry.
3d printing is not a new technology, it’s been around since the 1980’s however the expiration of the FDM patents in 2008 marked a new age to the 3d printing industry. Many desktop brands viz Makerbot, Commercial RepRap systems, and Bits took the opportunity of the expired patents and made the desktop 3d printing a reality. This steady inflow of participation by industry helped reduce the price of a 3d printer from $10,000 to as low as $300.
On January 28, 2014 SLS patent expired, which will further increase the reach of common people to high resolution 3d printing. The intellectual property barrier has helped this industry unlike any we have seen in the recent history.
Let’s look at some industries that have benefitted most with the growth of 3d printing and would be the driving force for further development.
Until a decade ago, the automotive manufacturers used to launch a maximum of 2 to 3 cars in a year however the huge demand in the industry made them look into other ways of manufacturing and reducing the prototyping time. 3d printing has been of great help to them, as it gives them the advantage by reducing both the time and money involved in pre-production stage.
We have been reporting a lot of cases where 3d printing has saved lives, and it will continue to do so. 3d printing is being used for highly customized services by the medical fraternity. These services include implants and prosthetic devices, surgical instruments, tissue engineering, pharmaceuticals and dosage forms, medical and dental devices.
This has been one industry that has a wonderful give and take relationship with 3d printing industry. The parts used in an Airplanes are extremely complex and need stringent quality control of both the structures and the materials. 3d Printing had to evolve and improve to be able to cater to this industry. This pushed forward the advances of 3D printers and spilled over to other industries.
3D printers can make sculptural products, jewelry and fashion designs, home furnishings, textiles and even food! As more hobby 3D printers are available at low prices, consumers can design their own products for daily uses.
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