It is important to analyze the level of the R&D occurring at the leading 3D printer manufacturers to help understand the technology commitment and future growth prospects of the 3D printing industry.
A table providing the last three years per capita R&D for eight companies’ public reporting purposes is presented below:
- This is an industry with a large commitment to R&D with three-year average year spend of $138 million for all eight companies
- The pure 3D printer manufacturers are engineering/design intensive since the average company per capita annual R&D spend is $45,149
- Organovo, the organ printing company, has particularly large per capita numbers and very high year over year R&D growth but to date has a small employee count that only slightly impacts the overall data results.
- Arcam, along with Concept Laser, has recently been acquired by GE Additive. These acquisitions alone will greatly increase commercial R&D applications related to GE’s internal businesses particularly aircraft components and medical equipment and perhaps oil and gas equipment. GE has disclosed they have spent over $1.5 billion in 3D printing related investments.
This table only reflects the R&D investment of large commercial 3D printer manufacturers. Other 3D printer or R&D investors include:
- Foreign, US Federal and Local Government
- Software Developers
- Material Suppliers
- Designers & End Users
- Numerous privately held 3D printer manufacturers, many of which have large R&D budgets, including Desktop Metal, Markforged, and Carbon.
Other major commercial companies with 3D printing R&D expenses include Canon and Epson but we are unable to separate their 3D printer R&D from with 2D printer R&D. The large ongoing investment in 3D printing R&D is going to enable 3D printing end users to benefit from a continuing stream of new and improved 3D printer products.
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Charles Goulding & Tricia Genova of R&D Tax Savers discuss 3D printing R&D.