Judging by the sheer volume of press releases, white papers, and industry blogs, the market adoption of 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) has come of age. According to Lux Research, revenues from this technology will increase from approximately $4B in 2016 to $19.5B in 2020. The number of patents granted for 3D printing-related technology has also increased exponentially in recent years, indicating that innovators are eager to embrace this technology. And users at all points in the value chain have done so, from suppliers like BASF and Arkema to equipment providers such as HP, Stratasys, and Desktop Metal. Even service providers like Protolabs are keen to adopt this technology as business strategists look to broaden their reach.
So where does Match Point Strategies see acceleration? We see tremendous growth opportunities in line with those detailed in “The Road Ahead for 3D Printing”, authored by Chris Curran for PwC. Among other highlights, Curran emphasizes that 3D printers will need to become more sophisticated in the types of materials it can process in a single build cycle. Processing multiple material types will lead to more useful products and drive market expansion. 3D material selection has broadened beyond commodity polymers to include biocomposites, specialty polymers, and metals. Adding to this is the evolution of additive manufacturing; major corporations are now creating innovation hubs and adopting open platform approaches to source ideas. And which industries are trailblazers in the additive manufacturing world? That would be the medical device, automotive, and aerospace markets, which are investing in the flexibility of 3D printing as an alternative to other molding practices.
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