The coronavirus pandemic has severely disrupted the supply chains across the globe. Shutdowns of major manufacturing hubs, coupled with the increasing demand for medical supplies, have created the need to produce essential supplies using 3D printing. Several hobbyists, startups, and small enterprises have contributed to the manufacture of nasopharyngeal swabs, ventilator valves, face shields, and other personal protective equipment. In North America, the NIH 3D Print Exchange, FDA, the Veterans Healthcare Administration, and America Makes have collaborated to develop surgical face mask which includes 3D printed elastic straps and filter material that are fabricated using SLS or MJF technology. Moreover, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Surgery has developed a negative pressure isolation head box, which uses 3D printing to produce glove grommets. Similarly, the Texas A&M University has developed isolation chambers that work as a physical barrier for contaminated patients; and comprise CNC cut vinyl and 3D printed parts.
Printers segment is expected to hold the largest market share during the forecast period; The printers segment captures the largest share of the 3D printing market. It mainly includes industrial and desktop printers. 3D printing has gained exceptional traction during the past decade owing to the multiple advantages of 3D printers over traditional manufacturing processes. The production process offers a range of advantages, such as design flexibility, rapid prototyping, print-on-demand, minimal wastage, fast designing and production, ease of access, and time and cost efficiency, amongst others. The accessibility of 3D printers across the globe with the increasing availability of local service providers has reduced the time and logistics, and transport costs compared to traditional manufacturing processes produced abroad in China. Since it is a single-step manufacturing process, 3D printing saves time and costs associated with using different machines for manufacturing. The rising adoption of 3D printing in verticals, such as aerospace & defense, industrial, automotive, consumer products, healthcare, provides opportunities for the 3D printer market.
Industrial vertical is estimated to be the dominating market during the forecast period; The 3D printing market for the industrial vertical accounts for the largest market share of 3D printing. Rising trends of smart manufacturing, robotics, industrial services, and cloud applications provide opportunities to the 3D printing market for the industrial vertical. From jigs and fixtures to end-of-arm tooling, the industrial vertical is shifting its adoption of 3D printers for applications from prototyping to end products. Companies using 3D printers in various industries can create custom, low-volume tooling and fixtures at a lower cost than traditional prices. This gives more time to designers and engineers to spend on revenue-generating parts. Small manufacturers get the same benefit with a 3D printer as Tier 1 global manufacturers, which helps them improve and expedite processing while mitigating downtime.
The Asia Pacific is expected to grow at the highest rate; The growth is driven by the rising adoption of 3D printing technologies in various verticals, including automotive, consumer products, healthcare, and industrial. China is the key country contributing to the growth of 3D printing in the APAC region. The Action Plan, which forms part of the ‘Made in China 2025’ strategic roadmap for the country’s manufacturing sector, outlines long-term ambitions and development goals to make China one of the leading 3D printing nations. One of the important aspects of the plan is a goal to introduce over 100 AM pilot projects across ten key industries, including the medical, cultural, educational, and Internet sectors.