These and many other fascinating insights are from Sculpteo’s 5th edition of their popular study, The State of 3D Printing (29 pp., PDF, opt-in). The study’s methodology is based on interviews with 1,300 respondents coming from Europe (64%), United States (16.6 %) and Asia (20.2%), which is the fastest growing region internationally today as measured by this survey over five years. Eight industries are included in the research design including Industrial Goods (13.6%), High Tech (10.6%), Services (9.9%), Consumer Goods (8.6%), Health & Medical (6.2%), Automotive (5.7%), Aerospace & Defense (5.5%), and Education (4.9%). For additional details on the methodology, please see pages 6 and 7 of the study. Key takeaways from the survey include the following:
- Proof of concepts and prototyping dominate 3D printing applications in 2019. Manufacturers are increasing their reliance on 3D printing as part of their broader manufacturing strategies, with production use up to 51% of all respondents from 38.7% in 2018. The following compares 2019’s purpose of 3D prints versus the last five years of survey data. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- Accelerating product development continues to be enterprises’ top focus guiding their 3D printing strategies in 2019. Mass customization and support for configure-to-order and engineer-to-order product strategies also continue to be a high priority this year, continued the trend since 2015. Increasing production flexibility is the third area of focus that guides additive manufacturing strategies today. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- Nearly 50% of enterprises say that quality control is their top challenge of using their 3D printers. As enterprises increase their adoption of 3D printing to accelerate their additive manufacturing strategies, quality is becoming increasingly more important. Manufacturers most define their success by the perceived level of quality products they deliver to their customers, which is increasing quality control as a needed benefit of 3D printing. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- Adopting a design-to-manufacturing strategy accelerates new product development and innovation, which is why CAD design leads all other activities today. When responses were asked which areas related to 3D printing and additive manufacturing, they spend the majority of their time, nearly 50% said CAD design. Building prototypes, research, and testing prototypes are also areas those enterprises adopting additive manufacturing are investing in today. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- Additive manufacturing adoption is growing across shop floors globally, evidenced by more than 70% of enterprises finding new applications for 3D printing in 2019 and 60% using CAD, simulation, and reverse engineering internally. The leading indicators of additive manufacturing becoming more pervasively adopted across global shop floors are shown in the following graphic. New uses for 3D printing, experimenting with new materials, extensive CAD Design integration combined with simulation and reverse engineering provide further evidence of how engrained additive manufacturing is becoming in production processes daily. 3D printing is now most commonly used alongside CNC machining, another strong indicator of how essential additive manufacturing is becoming to the production process. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- 3D printings’ innate strengths at producing items with complex geometries at a quick pace or iteration are the leading two benefits of 3D printing in 2019. More than 40% of enterprises say that rapid iterations of prototypes and lead time reductions are the leading benefits followed by mass customization (support for configure-to-order & engineer-to-order product strategies) and cost savings. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- 80% of high tech manufacturing respondents are relying on 3D printing for prototyping, leading all industries in this category. 47% use 3D printing to accelerate product development. High tech manufacturers are above average in their experimenting with new 3D printing materials and technologies, looking for greater competitive strength in their industry. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- North American-based enterprises see the scale to support complex product concepts (complex geometries), speed (quick iterations), scale (mass customizations) and cost savings as the top benefits of 3D printing. Sculpteo’s survey found that North American enterprises are more optimistic about the potential for 3D printing becoming mainstream in a production environment. While budget and physical space are the two most significant barriers enterprises face in adopting 3D printing at scale, their optimistic outlook on the technology’s future is driving greater adoption to the shop floor. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
35% of all ads posted for engineering jobs in the last 30 days prioritize 3D printing and additive manufacturing as the most sought-after skill.
Wanted Analytics’ latest analysis of the 3D printing and additive manufacturing job market found that IT and management expertise were the second most common skill sets mentioned in ads seeking to recruit engineers. Key take-aways from their study and the growing market for engineers with 3D printing skills are provided below:
- The number of job ads requiring workers with 3D printing skills increased 1,834% in 4 years and 103% when comparing August 2014 to August 2013. The following graphic illustrates the accelerating growth of 3D printing and additive manufacturing expertise needs of employers over the last four years.
- Wanted Analytics found that the most in-demand jobs requiring 3D printing and additive manufacturing expertise include the following:
- Industrial Engineers
- Mechanical Engineers
- Software Developers, Applications
- Commercial and Industrial Designers
- Marketing Managers – High demand for marketing and selling expertise as manufacturers, software and service providers look to launch new business models that capitalize on 3D printing’s many business advantages.
- Manufacturing has the highest number of positions for 3D printing and additive manufacturing skills, with the following industries generating the majority of the jobs in this field today:
- Other Computer Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing
- Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
- Tire and Tube Merchant Wholesalers
- Search, Detection, Navigation, Guidance, Aeronautical, and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing
- Aluminum Sheet, Plate, and Foil Manufacturing
- Demand for freelance 3D printing and additive manufacturing expertise is flourishing globally. Elance has an impressive 76,979 portfolio samples used by freelancers to promote their 3D printing, 3D modeling and additive manufacturing expertise. There are 2,444 freelancers actively looking for 3D printing, 3D modeling and additive manufacturing projects, and 88 projects currently open.
- Freelance exchange ODesk currently has 2,395 freelancers listed as 3D printing specialists and designers and 78 projects currently open.
- Guru.com lists 367 freelancers with 3D printing expertise available and 180 open projects.
- CAD Crowd has 3,760 3D printing freelance experts and provides a global map of their locations, which is shown below.
3D printing’s potential to revolutionize manufacturing is quickly becoming a reality.
From relatively simple make-to-stock to complex, engineer-to-order production strategies in aerospace, defense, discrete and industrial production, 3D printing technologies are redefining the manufacturing value chain. Investors including venture capitalists, wealth management firms and nearly every market research firm covering high technology has published 3D printing forecasts or market estimates.
A summarized list of 3D printing market forecasts and estimates is provided below:
- Canalys predicts the global 3D printing market will grow from $2.5B in 2013 to $16.2B by 2018, attaining a CAGR of 45.7% in the forecast period. For additional information see 3D printing market to grow to US$16.2B in 2018. The following table compares 2013, 2014 and 2018 forecasts and relative market growth by 3D printers, services and materials.
- IBISWorld forecasts the U.S. market for 3D printer manufacturing in the U.S. will reach $1.4B in 2014, attaining a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.8% from 2009 to 2014. The U.S. market will grow at a CAGR of 15.7% from 2014 to 2019. IBISWorld’s report includes market shares, and shows 3D Systems Corporation with 19.5% followed by Stratasys with 18.4%. You can read the IBISWorld report, 3D Printer Manufacturing in the US, February 2014 here (free, no opt-in).
- IDC predicts that worldwide 3D printer unit sales and installed base will grow at a combined compound annual growth rate of 59% through 2017, with the value of shipments attaining a 27% CAGR in the forecast period. IDC’s excellent presentation titled 3D Printing – A Transformative Opportunity for Print and Manufacturing written by Robert Parker and Keith Kmetz was part of the IDC Directions 2014 briefing sessions earlier this year. The following slide from the presentation compares 3D printer market units, installed base and value of shipments. IDC also predicts the Average Selling Value will also drop at a -19% CAGR through 2017.
- 3D printers will grow from a $288M market in 2012 to $5.7B in 2017, attaining an 81.9% CAGR in the forecast period according to research by Wells Fargo Wealth Management. According to this firm’s compiled research, shipments of 3-D printers are expected to grow at a CAGR of 95% a year from 2012 to 2017 with revenue expected to grow at 82% in the same forecast period. Well Fargo Wealth Management found that 3-D printing revenue is estimated to have achieved just 8% of its global market potential as of 2014, making the market opportunity worth $21–$28 billion by 2017. Wells Fargo Wealth Management published the report Beyond 2014: Evolving Opportunities in Technology providing these insights and the following charts showing the growth of 3D printing shipments and revenue:
- The market for 3D printing products and services grew to $3.07B in 2013 attaining a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.9%, the highest in 17 years according to Wohlers Associates. According to industry expert Wohlers Associates the growth of worldwide revenues over the past 26 years has averaged 27%, with the CAGR for the past three years (2011–2013) reaching 32.3%.For additional information see the Wohlers Report 2014 Uncovers Annual Growth of 34.9% for 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing Industry. Wohlers Associates is one of the most knowledgeable firms tracking 3D printing, they have involved in this market for decades.
- 67% of manufacturers surveyed are currently implementing 3D printing either in full production or pilot and 25% intend to adopt 3D printing in the future. A study by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) of 3D printing adoption in the global aerospace industry’s MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) parts market estimates $3.4B annual savings in material and transportation costs alone. PWC’s recent report published in June, 3D Printing and the New Shape of Industrial Manufacturing, provides a wealth of insights into the adoption of 3D printing in manufacturing. The following graphic from the report compares adoption rates by small and large firms.
- PwC predicts that within three to five years 3D printing technologies will be used for producing military, commerical and complex weapon parts and system components. In the recent research note 3D Printing: A Potential Game Changer for Aerospace and Defense, PwC provided a 3D printing adoption map, which is shown below. PwC observes that “as quality and speed continue to improve, 3D printing will become a viable process for an ever-increasing number of applications, including traditional production parts. No one knows how rapidly the technology will take to mature, but most experts believe it will make significant strides within the next five years.”