Exone end to end binder jetting service

Where Do the Most Industrial 3D Printers Come From in the World? 3D Printing Geography

INTAMSYS industrial 3d printing

Share this Article

It seems as though 3D printing is becoming pretty well-distributed around the world, as reports emerge of 3D printers being used even in remote communities and underdeveloped areas. However, when you look more closely, it turns out that 3D printing is fairly limited to a handful of countries, at least in terms of the production of 3D printers. In a study entitled “The Geography of 3D Printing,” a research team looks at the distribution of 3D printing companies around the world.

“The 3D printing industry is an interesting industry to study because the developments in this industry are happening while internet exists,” the researchers state. “This means that this is perhaps the first time in history that the global spread of innovation and the development of a high technology industry can be followed. Furthermore, since the industry is still relatively young, it can still be overseen in terms of the number of companies that are active.”

The researchers posed four questions related to the main companies that produce industrial 3D printers:

  • Where were they founded? And, related to this, what is the national density for these companies?
  • When were they founded?
  • What led to the founding in that location?
  • For academic spin-offs; to which universities does this relate and how are these ranked?

The study shows that there is a high concentration of industrial 3D printer companies in the United States – particularly on the east coast – and Europe. A few companies exist in Asia, as well as one in Israel. No prominent 3D printer companies exist in Latin America, Africa or Australia. Interestingly, there is a lower number of companies in the Silicon Valley region than in the northeast US. The main companies studied were located in only 12 countries.

“The comparison with the high-tech indicators ranking shows that many of the companies are based in countries that have been previously considered as having a high-tech standing,” the researchers add.

Note that this study is focused on the major producers of industrial 3D printers; there are additional early-stage, not-yet-established companies in many other locations such as Singapore, Taiwan and Switzerland.

60% of the companies studied were fewer than 20 years old, while 30% of them were 10 or fewer years old. This is unsurprising, as 3D printing is still a relatively new industry. It has been in existence since the 1980s, but has only truly picked up steam, so to speak, in the last couple of decades.

When looking at the 30 major producers of industrial 3D printers, five categories emerged:

  1. Companies that existed before 3D printing and only adopted it later, such as HP
  2. Companies that were founded as a merger between two other companies with knowledge of 3D printing, such as AddUp
  3. Traditional startups
  4. Corporate spinoffs
  5. Academic spinoffs

About 20% of the companies studied were academic spinoffs, and nearly half were formed as corporate spinoffs.

According to the researchers, there are several implications from the study’s findings. First, companies that are already active within the industry are going to be faced with additional competitors, and it is likely that these companies will be corporate or academic spinoffs. Secondly, for both existing companies and new entrants to the industry, it is important to think about technology acquisition.

“Third, related to the geographic component, the acquisition of technology may also come from universities,” the researchers conclude. “The study provides some insight into universities that have a played a role…However, this is a very limited set and companies should look at other top-ranked universities for research that may lead to additional consequences or technology acquisition opportunities in 3D printing.”

Authors of the paper include Harm-Jan Steenhuis, Xin Fang, and Tolga Ulusemre.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

 

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printing News Briefs, September 18, 2021: Business, Materials, & More

3D Printing Service Hubs Appoints New CEO, Alex Cappy



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Metal 3D Printing: Kennametal Offers Binder Jet Tungsten Carbide

Kennametal has launched its KAR85-AM-K, tungsten carbide for binder jetting. The material, which is comparable to its existing CN13S Co-Ni-Cr powder, is tough, hard-wearing and ideal for wear-resistant parts and...

Ahead of Public Listing, New Members Join VELO3D Board

VELO3D announced the addition of three new board members ahead of its highly anticipated public listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the new ticker symbol “VLD.” The...

Featured

3D Systems Acquires Oqton to Drive 3D Printing for Production

In the AM industry’s second acquisition of the day, 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) now has an agreement to acquire software startup Oqton, a global SaaS company founded by manufacturing and artificial intelligence...

Featured

Desktop Metal Adds Hydraulics 3D Printing to Portfolio with Aidro Acquisition

Massachusetts-based metal 3D printing leader Desktop Metal (NYSE: DM), which went public via a SPAC deal in December of 2020, has been announcing a string of industry acquisitions since then,...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.