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Beyond the Horizon

Where Industrial 3D Printing is Going Next

There was a time when 3D printing was an industry that had the entire business world buzzing in excitement. Everyone knew that 3D printing had so much to offer various industries and applications, but no one was sure how that impact would translate into the real world.

Now the 3D printing market is at a point where the spending is ramping up in a big way. In 2015, roughly $11 billion was spent on the technology. That figure will rise to approximately $27 billion in 2019, and the amounts are only expected to increase from there. But what does that mean? Where does 3D printing stand right now, and what does the future hold

Consumer Adoption is a Ways Away

One of the major issues associated with 3D printing is its consumer impact. While the spending on 3D printing is ramping up, all that attention is coming from various industrial companies. There is very little interest from mainstream consumers. It is not the next technology that consumers are deeming as a “must have.”

Even though people are aware of the “cool” aspect of 3D printing, and they have seen the results it can achieve, they are not in a rush to buy 3D printers. That is because of the difficulty in using a 3D printer. It is not the type of plug and play technology that can translate to easy use, especially for those who have never used a 3D printer before.

Manufacturers or investors who are hoping that 3D printing will become the latest technological boom in the consumer market may be disappointed. There is no sign of that happening, not unless the technology and applications for 3D printing change drastically, and become a lot less expensive. Until then, consumers will still prefer to buy the products they need, instead of printing them out at home on a 3D printer.

Manufacturers are Committed

Households may not have 3D printers, but household-name manufacturers are very committed. Statistics show that around 70 percent of major manufacturers are adopting 3D technology in some way. This information comes from PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Co-founded by the inventor of 3D printing, Charles (“Chuck”) Hull, 3D Systems has grown into a global 3D solutions company. For over 30 years 3D Systems have bridged the gap between inspiration and innovation by connecting people with the expertise and digital manufacturing workflow required to solve their business, design or engineering problems.

Companies in the aerospace, military and aviation industries are also taking notice, while many car manufacturers are also beginning to discover the usefulness of 3D printing for manufacturing and replacing parts on vehicles.

If investors and manufacturers of 3D printers are hoping for a surge in value for the industry, it is going to continue coming from the industrial sector.

Applications are in the Production Stage

Most manufacturers are still focused on using 3D printing for samples and prototypes. In comparison to manufacturing prototypes using traditional methods, 3D printing is a lot faster and achieves a better result. But the technology is shifting, which means that it is now being used at the production stage at a higher rate than before. This trend should continue into 2018 and beyond.

There is still a long way to go for the 3D printing industry, but that only adds to the excitement. It is an industry that is already worth billions, but that value should double or triple in the next few years.

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