Additive manufacturing set to grow
Examples of parts produced by 3D printing specialist Digits2Widgets
According to US-based research company MarketsandMarkets, the additive manufacturing (AM) market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.5%.
The automatic process allows for rapid manufacturing of prototypes and functional end-use parts. Using CAD software to create thin, virtual, horizontal layer cross sections until the model is built; the process offers fast product development at a low cost.
The market research analysed the different areas of the market including automotive, business machines, aerospace and government and military. Automotives represent the largest share in the market, mostly due to the easy applications of 3D printing in the production of end products such as engines, spare parts, and other interior and exterior parts.
With new improved technologies, funding from governments, large application area and ease of development of custom products, the global AM devices market, which had a recorded market of $1,843m in 2012, has the potential to grow in every manufacturing sector and is expected to reach $3,471m by 2017.
Despite this, the potential growth of the additive manufacturing market could be hit by a few crucial factors including foreign regulations, material characterisation during development and process control and understanding.