The future of 3D printing by Dr Conor MacCormack, Co-Founder and CEO of MCOR

Predicting the future is not an easy thing to do because in Yoda’s words, “Always in Motion the Future is”. However, it might help to look back before looking forward. Following on from a period of hype in the 3D printing industry around consumer desktop printers the current market for 3D printers is largely divergent—at the low end are limited-function offerings of interest to hobbyists and makers. At the high end, there are expensive printers that are inaccessible in the main.

But looking to the future there are huge opportunities in this industry. Let’s have a look, Wohlers reports that the manufacturing market is currently worth a whopping $10.5 trillion and the 3D printing market is worth a fraction of this at $5 billion. Even if 3D printing grows to just 2% of the manufacturing market it could will be worth a substantial $210 billion! Wohlers predicts the 3D printing market will grow to $20 billion by 2020 but what part of the 3D market will dominate? Production will grow to $7.4 billion and the consumer market to $0.4 billion. But growing at a CAGR of 29% and to the value of $12 billion prototyping will continue to present opportunities for those companies that continue to improve their offerings.

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