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Market Implications of 3D Printing (Technical Insights)

  • December 2013
  • 52 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 1939382


Table of Contents

Research Outline

The future of three-dimensional (3D) printing and its market implications will be determined by the breadth and depth of application potential it carries, and its ability to unleash a whole new world of application segments. Right from printing a mobile phone cover to reconstructing human organs, 3D printing has shown its technology capability in the world of prototyping. However, 3D printing shows a very optimistic scenario and its impact in the future is expected to revolutionise and go beyond market predictions across multiple industries.
The research service offers insights primarily on nine dimensions of 3D Printing technology and its future market implications.

The nine dimensions of the research service can be listed as:
• Year of Impact
• Market Potential
• Global Footprint
• IP Activity
• Funding
• Breadth of Industries
• Impact on Megatrend
• Potential Points of Convergence
• Size of Innovation Ecosystem

Research Methodology

Primary Research
• Engineers
• Technical Architects
• Research Heads
• Strategic Decision Makers
• Technology Policy Heads

Secondary Research
• Technology Journals
• Periodicals
• Market Research Reports
• Technology Policy Information Sites
• Internal Databases
• Thought Leader Briefings

Step 1: To provide a thorough analysis of each topic, Technical Insights’ analysts perform a review of patents to become familiar with the major developers and commercial participants and their processes.
Step 2: Building on the patent search, the analysts review abstracts to identify key scientific and technical papers that provide insights into key industry participants and the technical processes on which they work.
Step 3: The analysts then create a detailed questionnaire with content created to address the research objectives of the study, which functions as a guide during the interview process. While the analysts use structured questionnaires to guarantee coverage of all the desired issues, they also conduct interviews in a conversational style. This approach results in a more thorough exchange of views with the respondents, and offers greater insight into the relevant issues than more structured interviews may provide.
Step 4: The analysts conduct primary research with key industry participants and technology developers to obtain the required content. Interviews are completed with sources located throughout the world in universities, national laboratories, governmental and regulatory bodies, trade associations, and end-user companies, among other key organizations. Our analysts contact the major commercial participants to find out about the advantages and disadvantages of processes and the drivers and challenges behind technologies and applications. Our analysts talk to the principal developers, researchers, engineers, business developers, analysts, strategic planners, and marketing experts, among other professionals.
Step 5: The project management and research team reviews and analyzes the research data that are gathered and adds its recommendations to the draft of the final study. Having conducted both published studies and custom proprietary research covering many types of new and emerging technology activities as well as worldwide industry analysis, the management and research team adds its perspective and experience to provide an accurate, timely analysis. The analysts then prepare written final research services for each project and sometimes present key findings in analyst briefings to clients.

Research Scope

This research service will cover key technology trends in the 3D printing domain from nine strategic perspectives. Commercialization and wide scale adoption of 3D printing in commercial, medical, industrial segments have been analyzed to estimate the year of impact for adoption of 3D printing for mass manufacturing across industries. Adoption across regions and geographies lend a snapshot of the global footprint and development across the globe. In order to assess the current areas of focus and the challenges being addressed by the industry, funding analysis reveals the trends shaping up the industry. An analysis of the patent landscape is set to depict the evolution of the different aspects of 3D printing core research, product development, as well as manufacturing techniques. Innovations in end application segments will be discussed, while showcasing stakeholders who come up with disruptive technologies.

Key Findings

Year of Impact
Some of the key industry and application sectors for 3D printing technology are consumer and commercial, medical, and manufacturing. According to Industry expectations the manufacturing (including aerospace and automotive), commercial, consumer applications will have quicker commercialization compared to the medical sector.

Market Potential
An optimistic market scenario predicts that the 3D printing market potential is expected to be more than X billion by 2015. From Frost & Sullivan analysis and market participants the potential revenue would be close toX billion USD by 2015 based on the current market scenario.

Global Footprint
The global adoption of the technology scenario shows that North America leads innovation in terms of printing technology. Europe and Asia Pacific are soon catching up with this trend. With China’s interest and activities in developing the country’s 3D printing technology, the global adoption scenario is soon to change by 2016.

IP Activity
Since the IT industry boom, 3D printing has been the area of overwhelming IP registrations. While Japan showed high intensity of IP registrations, a closer look reveals that most of their patents are old and soon to expire which brings newer players from North America and Europe lead the IP scenario.

With excellent market prediction by industry analysts, public and private investors are keen on funding companies and universities having high innovation potential. Investors are also looking at companies, universities, and research labs that enter strategic partnerships as this would help commercialize the technology in a shorter time frame.

Breadth of Industries
Since its inception, 3D printing has been increasingly adopted by the manufacturing industry. This scenario has immensely changed in the past few years with novel market application burgeoning due to technology innovation bolstered by the wide range of materials used for 3D printing. 3D printing will not replace conventional, mass manufacturing, at least in the near to medium term, but will be used as an alternative to conventional manufacturing techniques to make, for example, complex, light weight components or items that are hard to make using conventional plastic injection molding.

Impact on Megatrend
With the R&D and applications for 3D printing on the rise these days and with a high interest for adoption of this technology by a wide range of industrial sectors, this technology is seen to be increasingly used as an alternative to conventional manufacturing models in the next Xto X years. The megatrends will be seen as one of the factors which will influence the innovations in 3D printing technology.

Potential Points of Convergence
Multiple industries, such as commercial goods, nanotechnology, fashion and jewelry, aerospace, automotive, to name a few, have potential to adopt 3D Printing on a large scale, however it is the healthcare and consumer electronics sectors that would reap maximum benefits from convergence with 3D printing in the next Xyears.

Innovation Ecosystem
3D printing has been in the market for more than two decades. With more players mushrooming in the industry and technology innovations taking place, the 3D printing ecosystem has been deepening. With strong collaborations between technology developers and research institutions, the market will escalate.

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