Emerging Technology

3D Printing Investing

3D printing investing promises to transform the way companies approach manufacturing and producing, making it a vital growth market for the future.

3D printing, or additive manufacturing (AM), is a process whereby objects are created from the successive layering of material.

This process promises to transform the way companies approach manufacturing and producing, rendering 3D printing investing an important market for keen investors.

3D printing allows people to print models of existing objects, as well as creating entirely new objects with the help of Computer Aided Design files.

This flexibility speaks to the wide variety of tasks which 3D printing can be applied to. Everything from creating prosthetic limbs, to architectural models, to movie props, to ancient artifacts can be created using these advanced 3D printing technologies.

Although there are multiple ways that 3D printers work (some use melting or softening materials, selective laser sintering and fused deposition modeling), all function by gradually layering material into the shape of the desired object.

Here the Investing News Network (INN) breaks down questions to the answer of, “what is 3D printing investing?”

3D printing investing: Use and applications

“3D printing solutions are gaining traction outside of the traditional industries of aerospace and automotive manufacturing and healthcare,” said Marianne Daquila, research manager at IDC. “Professional services and retail will each see more than $1 billion dollars in annual spending before the end of the forecast period, driven by the benefits of fully customized solutions.”

Gartner on its part said that the 40 percent of manufacturing enterprises will establish 3D printing centers of excellence as 3D printers haves evolved from working with a handful of materials to now working with plastics, ceramics among others.

Further, Gartner said that 3D printing has numerous impacts on a company from incremental gains to radical customer value propositions, which includes customized and personalized goods.

In terms of business models, Gartner said that 3D printing enables a shift from “designing for ideal manufacturing to manufacturing the ideal design.”

“The emergence of higher speed 3D printers, production configurations, and the expanded range of materials available for 3D printing systems continues to enable wider adoption of 3D printing across numerous industries,” said Tim Greene, research director, 3D Printing at IDC.

In that regard, as technology is an ever-evolving industry, so is 3D printing and all of its uses: in April 2017, researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) together with the Georgia Institute of Technology, announced the development of a new method to 3D print shape-shifting objects.

Companies like Audi (ETR:NSU) have bet big on 3D printing as the company has started to use this technology from creating parts of automobiles to making parts for its lunar missions.

3D printing investing: Industry growth

With its broad applications, the 3D printing industry is poised to grow significantly in the coming years. According to a Wohlers Associates report from 2018, there was a dramatic rise in metal additive manufacturing and 3D printing in 2017.

According to the report, the overall industry grew t by 21 percent last year. The report said that the industry expanded by more than US$1.25 billion with an estimated 1,768 metal AM systems sold in 2017 compared to 983 systems in 2016, which translates to an 80 percent increase.

Similarly, a report from Mordor Intelligence said that the global 3D printing market was valued at US$8.31 billion in 2017. Looking ahead the industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.29 percent between 2018 to 2023 to reach a value of US$35.36 billion.

Meanwhile, IDC said that global spending on 3D printing will account for roughly two thirds of tworldwide spending through its forecast period of 2018 to 2022. The firm predicts that the spending will touch US$23 billion in 2022.

3D printing investing: What’s next?

Following 3D printing is 4D printing, where the fourth dimension is time. This is mostly relevant to the medical arena, particularly with designing devices that are implanted in the body and need to adapt and change over time.

In short, the 3D printing has certainly made a name for itself while it shows no signs of slowing down. Thus, it makes it an exciting space for investors to consider for their portfolio.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2015.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Technology for real-time news updates.

Securities Disclosure: I, Bala Yogesh, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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