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3D-Printing Industry Sees Accelerating Revenue Growth

Chris Connery, VP of Global Research at CONTEXT

Revenues from materials for Industrial/Professional 3D printers (machines selling over €4400) have surged by €4.1B over the past five years with 29.9% year-on-year growth in 2018 alone, according to new research from CONTEXT, the technology-focused market intelligence company. The market looks set to better the 2013–2018 five-year CAGR of 25.98% and is on track to amass another €13.4B in the next five years.

CONTEXT’s new global quarterly AM3DP Materials Utilisation Report examines the 3D-printing materials market to reveal quarter-by-quarter utilisation of materials by machine type, machine process, ASTM process, end-market and principal machine use — all in robust, easy-to-use Excel pivot tables.

Although still a small part of the €10.7T manufacturing industry, the market for materials for use in 3D printing — also known as additive manufacturing (AM) — has grown strongly as the number of 3D printers installed has expanded. From 2014 to 2018, 80.6% of global revenues for materials used in Industrial/Professional 3D printers came from polymers (plastics), while metals accounted for 13.5%. However, the latter’s share grew to 17.9% in 2018 while polymers’ dipped to 78.8%, highlighting the growing momentum of metal-based AM.

Printer manufacturers, and the chemical companies producing their materials, are simultaneously pushing for more printers to enter the market and looking for ways to drive increased utilisation of these machines. Many vertical markets — including digital dentistry, medical modelling, jewellery and prototyping — are seeing healthy growth, but the greatest expansion in AM materials revenue comes from mainstream serial mass- and mid-volume-production.

Materials utilisation really starts to accelerate when vendors put the M into AM”, says Chris Connery, VP of Global Research at CONTEXT. “While 3D printing has always excelled for prototyping, mass-customisation, one-off production of complex parts, and in certain vertical markets’, the biggest growth in material utilisation for the 3D-printing sector is achieved by focusing on the manufacturing side of additive manufacturing.

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