The most important applications for 3-D printing are in the pursuit of performance gains. For example, reducing the weight of jet fighters has improved fuel efficiency, but it has also made parts less structurally sound. By using 3-D printing, manufacturers can create parts that are lighter, but still possess greater tensile strength and impact resistance. Other applications include the use of new materials in various spots.
Applications of 3D printing
3D printing is one of the most versatile technologies in use today, and it has a broad range of applications. It can create a variety of different materials and designs, allowing engineers to explore new and complex design iterations. Because of this, 3D printing can shorten the time needed to develop new products. Moreover, it can eliminate the need for costly equipment replacement or maintenance.
With the increasing popularity of 3D printing, many businesses are already adopting this technology. The most common applications include rapid prototyping, jigs, fixtures, tooling, and research and development. However, the number of other uses is increasing rapidly.
Major players in the market
There are several key players in the 3D printing market. These include 3D Systems, Arcam AB, Autodesk, Inc., Stratasys Ltd, Voxeljet AG, Schneider prototyping solutions, Global 3D Labs, and more. Some of these players are engaged in mergers and acquisitions, while others focus on the development of new products.
The 3D printing market is largely consolidated with major players holding the majority of the market share. However, there are small and medium companies upgrading their cloud services and improving their product portfolios. In addition, major players are investing heavily in developing new technologies and offering consumer-centric solutions to drive their growth.
Impact of the pandemic on the market
COVID-19 has affected the market for 3D printers and materials, and caused a massive disruption in supply chains. The epidemic has disrupted global industrial production and slowed down financial markets. It has also forced many market players to scale back their operational expenditure, limiting investments in 3D printing technologies in 2020. Companies such as Stratasys and Objet have reported sales dips during the early stages of the pandemic, but have since recovered with new manufacturing contracts.
Although the pandemic has affected the global economy in indirect ways, the impact on 3D printing technologies was still significant. Indirectly, the pandemic has resulted in a surge in 3D printing in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. During the pandemic, global healthcare systems have been under extreme stress, causing shortages of medical equipment and hospital beds. Furthermore, patients with COVID-19 have a high risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome, which requires high levels of support to stay alive.
Impact of digital platforms on the market
In the coming decade, 3DP will become fully integrated in hospitals and pharmacies to prepare difficult-to-dose medicines and perform clinical trials. Big pharma companies will start selling ink cartridges containing drugs and use 3DP to prepare medicines on demand close to the patient. This will improve the acceptability of medicines and reduce side effects.
While 3D printing has the potential to create whole commercial ecosystems and a vast network of small “makers,” it will need the support of digital platforms in order to scale. These platforms will orchestrate the design-to-print activities and enable fast design and file sharing. They will also help manufacturers monitor their network of printers, optimize capacity, and manage quality.
Impact of new product launches on the market
With the growth in 3-D printing technology, many large companies are ramping up their production. Some of these companies include GE, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing. Others include Invisalign, Google, and Aurora Flight Sciences. Some of these companies are making products for consumer applications, such as lenses for light-emitting diodes. Industrial-grade 3-D printers are now accounting for one-third of all industrial automation and robotics sales.
While there is a strong demand for 3D printers, they are still expensive. However, prices have come down in recent years. As consumer interest grows, the market for 3D printing will grow as well. This will drive innovation and drive down prices. While the most commonly used 3D printing functionalities are scanning and gimmicky marketing, more companies are getting on board to ensure that their products are ready for the future.