3D Printing Outlook 2018: Another Flat Year Ahead

- December 14th, 2017

With 2017 now behind us, it’s time to look ahead to 2018 and what’s in store for the 3D printing market.

Earlier this week, the Investing News Network (INN) previously reported on the 3D printing market in 2017, highlighting some of the year’s biggest trends and takeaways. 
While the overall 3D printing market in 2017 struggled in terms of its performance in the finance sector, the industry continued to show resilience and that it is constantly evolving and changing to meet the needs of other industries.
On that note, as we put 2017 behind us, it’s time to look to the year ahead for the 3D printing sector–although according to some analysts we spoke with, next year won’t be much different. Continue reading below to find out what they had to say.

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3D printing outlook 2018: Slow and steady wins the race

In an email to INN, Time Greene, a research director at IDC said that moving into 2018 he expects “more of the same” in the 3D printing sector, which he says is “a dynamic market that is marked by what seem like breakthroughs at least once a week.”
Greene expanded on that, stating that while that pace may seem exciting, it might actually be too fast.
“We’ve got companies that want to implement 3D printing technology potentially as a substitute for their existing processes which have been the basis of their businesses for many years,” he said. “But, it takes time to understand the possibilities and limitations and these are changing all the time.
Greene also said there will be a big focus on automation and 3D printing workflow as companies come to further adapt the technologies.
“[Companies] will also want to take advantage of new tools and technologies to take the best advantage of 3D printing technology that they can,” he said.
In the same vein, Amit Dror, CEO of Nano Dimension (TASE:NNDM,NASDAQ:NNDM) told INN that he expects more players to enter the market, continuity in technology maturity and more end-applications.
“I believe that we will also see the market growing for customer-driven applications,” he said.
Keith Kmetz, program vice president at IDC told INN that while the market “desperately wants the value promised by 3D printing,” the technology itself hasn’t risen tot he level where adoptions can become more mainstream.
Kmetz said that countries around the world are investing in infrastructure, recognizing that 3D printing is a solid tool for the future of manufacturing, and exampled China as an area ahead in the game in that aspect.
“This evolution takes time, but the market is struggling with the pace of this evolution,” Kmetz said.

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3D printing outlook 2018: Developments come to fruition

Indeed, the 3D printing market is constantly on the move and evolving, and next year will be no different as we begin seeing some technologies launched in 2017 come to realization in 2018.
Greene said one thing he will be watching closely in 2018 will be some of the technologies from 2017 that were launched, introduced or announced “really come to market as specified.”
“There were some really exciting developments with some … production configurations, some much lower-priced metal printing systems, and even some color 3D printing technology for making truly accurate prototypes,” he said.
Kmetz agreed on that point, and said that there’s room for the market to continue evolving for more widespread use, which includes lower price points–in other words, more affordable to implement and use–higher performance–whether that’s speed, configurations, or build size possibilities–support for metal and color output; shifting from a prototyping role to final part production and the implications of bringing manufacturing closer to point of consumption.
“There’s a lot of exciting potential that’s been talked about for years,” Kmetz said. “We’re getting closer to fruition.”

3D printing outlook 2018: Future market growth

While 2018 may be another slow year for the 3D printing market, its overall market outlook and growth is promising–from 2018 and beyond.
Market and Markets projects that the industry  will be worth $32.78 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 25.76 percent between 2017 and then.
“The growth is attributed to the factors such as the ease of development of customized products, ability to reduce overall manufacturing costs, and government investments in the 3D printing projects for the development and deployment of the technology,” the report read.

Companies contributing to that growth include the typical main players, of course: Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS), 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), SLM Solutions (FRA:AM3D), the ExOne Company (NASDAQ:XONE), Voxeljet AG (NYSE:VJET) and Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB), to name a few.

3D printing outlook 2018: investor takeaway

Although the 3D printing industry has been somewhat challenging in recent years, the good news is it’s still a viable sector to invest in, rich with opportunities for savvy investors.
The industry has made significant progress–and will continue to do so in the years to come–so hold tight, 3D printing enthusiasts.
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Technology for real-time news updates! 
Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 
Editorial Disclosure: Nano Dimension is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content. 
The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence. 

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