3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing because it involves adding layers of material to build up an object rather than subtractive manufacturing, which involves removing material from a larger block. 3D printing is expected to revolutionize the manufacturing industry by allowing for faster prototyping, customization, and even the creation of entirely new products that were previously impossible to make using traditional manufacturing methods. 3D printing can be used to create intricate and detailed objects that would be impossible to make using traditional manufacturing methods. This includes everything from jewellery to machine parts to artistic sculptures. In 2015, a team of researchers at the University of Bristol in the UK used 3D printing to create a working artificial heart. The heart is made of silicone and can pump like a real human heart. Some companies are using 3D printing to create custom-fit clothing and footwear. This allows customers to get clothes that are perfectly tailored to their body shape and size. In 2018, a company called Apis Cor used 3D printing to construct a house in just 24 hours. The house was printed in one continuous piece rather than being assembled from separate parts. 3D printing is also being used in the field of archaeology to create replicas of ancient artifacts. This allows researchers to study and handle fragile objects without risking damage to the original. In 2017, a team of researchers at MIT developed a 3D printing technique that allows for the printing of objects with multiple materials. This technique could lead to the creation of more complex and functional objects.
According to the research report, "Global 3D Printing Market Research Report, 2028", published by Actual Market Research, the market is anticipated to reach USD 61.33 billion by 2028 with a robust CAGR of 23.20% from USD 17.80 billion in 2022. 3D printing allows the creation of customized and personalized products that are tailored to specific needs and preferences. This can be particularly useful in fields such as healthcare, where custom-fit prosthetics and implants can be created using 3D printing. It also allows for faster prototyping and production of products, which can help companies bring products to market more quickly. This can also be beneficial in fields such as medicine, where patients may need replacement parts or implants quickly. 3D printing can be a more cost-effective method of production compared to traditional manufacturing methods, especially for low-volume or complex parts. This can help smaller companies compete with larger companies and also reduce the cost of custom parts for customers. There is a trend toward more sustainable methods of production, as they can reduce waste and the need for transportation of goods. Additionally, 3D printing can use recycled materials, reducing the need for new materials. In addition to that, 3D printing allows for the creation of more complex and innovative designs that would be impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing methods. With the advancement of technology and reduction in costs, 3D printing has become more accessible to individuals and smaller companies. This has led to a democratization of manufacturing, allowing more people to create their own products and prototypes. Based on all these benefits, 3D printing is becoming an increasingly popular method of production across a range of industries.
The first three-dimensional printer appeared in 1983, just a year after the first CD. Chuck Hull, an employee of a small business that used UV lamps to make durable acrylic table top coatings, invented it. To quickly turn computer designs into working prototypes, Chuck used an ultraviolet laser to solidify a liquid photopolymer. The method was patented in 1984 and was known as laser stereo lithography, or SLA. CDs have already become obsolete after 40 years, but 3D technology continues to advance. Initially, the technology was used for prototyping because it was a quick and inexpensive alternative to standard methods. However, as technology advanced, it became a viable option for mass production. Many businesses in a variety of industries successfully use 3D printers in full production cycles to create both small structural parts and finished products. According to the report, the global 3D printing market is segmented based on printer types into desktop and industrial 3D printers. The desktop 3D printer segment includes printers that are used for personal, educational, and small-scale professional use. These printers are affordable, compact, and easy to use, making them accessible to a wide range of consumers. The desktop 3D printing market is expected to witness significant growth due to the increasing demand for personalized products and the growing adoption of 3D printing in various applications such as healthcare, education, and jewelry. The industrial 3D printer segment includes printers that are used for large-scale manufacturing and production. These printers are designed to handle high-volume production and are capable of printing with a wide range of materials, including metals and polymers. The industrial 3D printing market dominated the market in 2022 and is projected to continue growing by 2028.
The global 3D printing market is expected to witness significant growth in the coming years, driven by the increasing demand for 3D-printed products across various industries and the advancements in 3D printing technology. The market is segmented into various offerings, including printers, materials, software, and services. The 3D printer market is expected to grow due to the growing demand for 3D-printed products in various industries, such as aerospace, automotive, and healthcare. The materials used in 3D printing can be broadly classified into plastics, metals, ceramics, and others. The materials segment is expected to witness significant growth due to the increasing demand for 3D-printed products across various industries such as aerospace, automotive, and healthcare. The services segment includes the services related to 3D printing, such as design and prototyping, manufacturing, and consulting. The services segment is expected to grow due to the increasing adoption of 3D printing in various industries and the need for specialized expertise in design and prototyping. On the other hand, the software used in 3D printing includes design software, slicing software, and printer management software. The software segment is expected to witness significant growth due to the increasing demand for user-friendly design software and the need for advanced printer management software to optimize the printing process.
Further, the market is categorized into five major regions, including North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and the Middle East and Africa. Among them, the North American region is leading the market in 2022 with more than 33% of worldwide revenue. The presence of major players in the region, along with the increasing adoption of 3D printing in various industries, is driving the growth of the market in North America. The region is home to some of the major players in the 3D printing market, such as Stratasys Ltd., 3D Systems Corporation, and Materialise NV. The presence of a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups in the region is also contributing to the growth of the market. The increasing adoption of 3D printing in various industries such as aerospace, automotive, and healthcare is driving the growth of the market in North America.
Further, the European region is expected to witness significant growth in the 3D printing market due to the increasing adoption of 3D printing in various end-user industries. The presence of major players in the region is also contributing to the growth of the market in Europe. The Western European 3D printing industry, particularly in Germany, is highly exposed to economic volatility, and 3D printing technology has primarily served as a prototyping technique in the region. 3D printing technology enhances the manufacturing process of finished products in a variety of industry verticals. In Western Europe, the technology has matured quite well, and it does not represent a high cost or a risk in this regional market. End users are putting more trust in 3D printing services to deliver secure manufacturing benefits and customized product designs. More users are expected to turn to 3D printing techniques to boost their sales and market attractiveness. For instance, in May 2019, Aleph Objects, Inc., a leading US-based 3D printing vendor, expanded its business into Europe by establishing its European headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In April 2019, the Bossard Group, a leading component manufacturer, expanded its market in 3D printing technology by acquiring a 30% stake in Ecoparts AG, a Switzerland-based 3D printing company.
On the other hand, Asia-Pacific is expected to witness the highest growth in the 3D printing market due to the increasing demand for 3D-printed products in various industries such as healthcare, automotive, and consumer electronics. The growing investment in 3D printing technology by governments and private organizations in the region is also contributing to the growth of the market in Asia-Pacific. An increasing interest in the development of a sustainable 3D printing environment has been backed by APAC manufacturers and the implementation of several policies and legislative proposals by governments in the region. Given the massive government funding for the industry, China is possibly the main force behind adopting this technology in Asia. Developing additive industries and increasing investment in R&D for invention in 3D technology printers are considered to drive the global 3D printer market in Asia Pacific. Growing interest from APAC manufacturing companies and the introduction of many government-led strategies and policies have helped several countries within the region succeed in creating a sustainable AM ecosystem.
The 3D printing market in South America is still in the early stages of development, but it is expected to witness significant growth in the coming years. The healthcare sector in South America is expected to witness significant growth in the adoption of 3D printing technology, especially for the production of medical devices and implants. This is due to the increasing demand for personalized medical devices and the growing focus on patient-specific treatments. The governments of several countries in South America, such as Brazil and Argentina, are investing in the development of 3D printing technology and promoting its use in various industries. This is expected to drive the growth of the 3D printing market in the region. The number of 3D printing service providers in South America is increasing, providing a wide range of 3D printing services to various industries. This is expected to drive the growth of the market in the region. On the other hand, the governments of several countries in the MEA, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are investing in the development of 3D printing technology and promoting its use in various industries. This is expected to drive the growth of the 3D printing market in the region. The advancements in 3D printing technology, such as the development of new materials and the use of new printing techniques, are expected to drive the growth of the 3D printing market in the Middle East and Africa.
Based on industry vertical, the market is segmented into various categories. Among them, the aerospace and defence segment is leading the market in 2022. However, growth in the market is attributed to many industries and their product enhancements. For instance, NASA has been experimenting with 3D printing to create parts and tools on demand during space missions. They have even sent a 3D printer to the International Space Station. The medical industry has also been using 3D printing to create custom implants, prosthetics, and surgical tools. In fact, the first successful transplant of a 3D-printed liver was performed in 2019. Some researchers are using 3D printing to create living tissue and organs for medical purposes. This could potentially lead to the creation of replacement organs for patients who need them. In 2013, a group of researchers at Princeton University used 3D printing to create a bionic ear that can actually hear beyond the range of normal human hearing. 3D printing has also been used to create food, including pizza and chocolate. The technology allows for intricate designs and customization of the food, making it not only tasty but visually appealing. The largest 3D-printed object in the world is a boat, created in 2019 by the University of Maine. The boat is 25 feet long and weighs 5,000 pounds. In 2014, a group of architects in China used 3D printing to construct 10 houses in just 24 hours. The military has been using 3D printing to create spare parts and equipment in remote locations. This allows them to quickly repair equipment without having to wait for replacements to be shipped from a far-off location. The automotive industry is using 3D printing to create custom parts and components for cars. This allows for faster prototyping and can also help reduce the weight of the vehicle, leading to improved fuel efficiency. The first 3D-printed car was created in 2014 by Local Motors. The car, called the Strati, was printed in just 44 hours and has since been shown at several international auto shows.
3D printing is also being used in the fashion industry to create unique and avant-garde clothing designs. This includes everything from dresses made entirely of 3D-printed materials to shoes with intricate 3D-printed designs. Additive technologies are successfully used in the film industry. They are cheaper than computer graphics and allow printing of many prop details much faster and cheaper than traditional methods. One can easily create realistic monsters, fabulous houses, fantastic costumes, and even entire worlds. For instance, the Iron Man suit and terminator robots from "Terminator: Salvation" were 3D printed, and in the Black Panther film, 3D printing was used to create the image of Queen Ramonda, mixing traditional African culture with new-age technologies. There has been a major trend toward 4D printing across the globe nowadays. The term was first used a few years ago to refer to a special technology for printing objects that change their characteristics over time. In other words, the "fourth" in 4D printing is not a dimension but a parameter that is associated with the position or function of an object. And here, it all depends on the material used by the printer. Special materials change under the influence of water, heat, light, or mechanical impact and can also be programmed for certain actions. Using 4D printing, NASA engineers have created a protective metal fabric in the form of chain mail that can bend, stretch, and compress, but it is extremely difficult to tear. The agency plans to use this fabric to shield satellites, spacesuits, and habitable modules, thus protecting them from collisions with space debris and exposure to solar radiation.