Is 3D Printing the Next Revolution in Industrial Manufacturing?

3D printing technology presents promising opportunities for businesses who are starting to introduce it in its processes or considering to do so in the next years. UPS is one of these companies that has partnered with SAP and Fast Radius to offer an on-demand 3D printing service, allowing customers to order a variety of products ranging from auto parts to medical devices.

UPS has also recently released a report, together with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), that considers research and forecasts about 3D printing and examines the factors that US companies take into account in the adoption of this technology. In this article, we will go over the main results of the report.

3D Printing in Industrial Manufacturing

3D Printing by Geography and Industry

According to researchers, from 2012 to 2014, the 3D printing market has experienced a yearly increase of 30% and is expected to continue growing until reaching $21 billion in 2020. Regarding the geographical region, 68% of the revenues have been generated in Europe and North America, and 27% of the revenues in Asia Pacific.

3D Printing Market Revenue by Geography

Concerning the industry, the automotive sector and consumer electronics each account for 20% of the total 3D printing revenue by mainly using this technology for prototyping. The production of medical mass customized devices accounts for 15% of the total revenue and although it may sound unbelievable, almost 100% of the worldwide hearing aids are produced with 3D printing!

3D Printing Adoption

Around 67% of manufacturers have already incorporated 3D printing in certain way and 25% intend to adopt it in the future. The fastest growing application of 3D printing is in parts production and the main reasons for the adoption of this technology are: prototyping (25%), product development (16%), innovation (11%), increased efficiency (10%) and cost reduction (9%).

Reasons to Pursue 3D Printing

3D printing can bring important advantages in the production of small quantities of highly customized products in terms of increased speed of development and delivery, improved flexibility of inventory and on-demand production and cost efficiencies.

What’s next?

First of all, production volumes are likely to increase given that 3D printers are expected to be 88% faster in 2023. Regarding materials, metal will gain importance and is expected to grow even faster than plastic. Improvements in current materials will help increase quality and reduce prices. In addition, the development of new functionalities will result in the appearance of new applications.

Future Trends in 3D Printing

Has your business already incorporated 3D printing or is planning to do so?