3D printer shipments set to grow 108% over 2015
3D printer shipments worldwide are slated to more than double to about 455772 units this year, growing 108% over 2015 according to latest research report. Over the next four years, this number is likely to be at over 6.7 million by 2020.
“Once a niche market, 3D printing has continued its rapid transformation into a broad-based mainstream technology embraced by consumers and enterprises around the world,” said Pete Basiliere, research vice president at Gartner.
The evolution of hardware and software along with an ever-expanding collection of usable materials has driven growth in both the consumer and enterprise 3D printing markets. Enterprise 3D printer shipments are forecast to grow at about 44% in 2016.
3D printing is increasingly finding applications across industries, from creating prototypes to augmenting the manufacturing process and produce finished products. Research expects wider and more diverse growth to continue as new technology providers and processes emerge.
Seven technologies constitute the current 3D printer market, with material extrusion forecast to lead the market through 2020, largely due to the low cost of entry-level material extrusion printers. Stereolithography printer shipments will also grow at a rapid rate as new providers enter the market and the range of printable materials expands.
“The primary market driver for consumer 3D printers costing under $2,500 is the acquisition of low-cost devices by educational institutions and enterprise engineering, marketing and creative departments,” said Basiliere. “3D printers are being utilized for several applications and subjects by students in secondary and postsecondary schools where the use of 3D printers can prepare students for many career paths, such as engineering, manufacturing, aerospace and robotics.”
The primary enterprise 3D printer market drivers are the part quality, material advances and the devices’ ability to make prototypes, tools, fixtures, and finished goods.
Prototyping will remain the primary enterprise use for 3D printers throughout the forecast period, while their use to augment manufacturing will grow to 75 percent of enterprises by 2020.
From a regional perspective, North America and Western Europe will continue to experience very strong growth in the 3D printer market in 2016; however, their shipment growth rates will continue trailing several regions worldwide.
Research predicts that the Greater China, emerging Asia/Pacific and mature Asia/Pacific regions will experience a combination of high 3D printer shipments and high growth rates through 2020. This growth will be driven by private-sector and public-sector organizations that recognize the threat that 3D printing poses to native industries that rely on conventional manufacturing technologies.
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(Source: Economic Times Image source: CNN)