Automotive Plastic 3D Printing to Reach $2.7B in North America and Europe by 2030


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According to a new report from SmarTech Analysis, the market for polymer 3D printing in North America and Europe’s automotive sector is expected to reach $2.7 billion by 2030. As detailed in The Market for Additive Manufactured Polymer Automotive Parts: Europe and North America Regions, includes revenue from hardware, materials, tooling, and end-use parts as the industry shifts toward scaling capacity for direct 3D printing of end parts.

The report breaks down the adoption of additive manufacturing by the automotive market into the various polymer 3D printing processes and materials, such as powder bed fusion (PBF), photopolymerization, and material extrusion. These segments are examined granularly in terms of both data and written analysis.

A 3D printed component made by BMW using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology. Image courtesy of BMW.

Also included are segmented eight-year forecasts of polymer 3D printing hardware and materials based on technology type, as well as by North American and European region. The forecasts additionally project revenue opportunities for various applications, such as end-use parts and production support tools.

Among the publicly available information from the report is the fact that the shift from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles is driving wider adoption of 3D printing. SmarTech suggests that the demand for 3D printed production support tools will grow from 1.5 million support assets printed in 2022 up to 6.5 million parts printed in 2030.

About this trend, the report’s author, founder of ReThink Additive Oliver Smith, told “The automotive industry has long been a user of 3D printing, first as a prototyping technology, and was one of the first to 3D print jigs, fixtures, and simple tooling. But as the industry faces enormous upheaval with trends in autonomous technologies, electrification, vehicle customization and ridesharing, automakers are set to invest in 3D printing as a solution to many future challenges in the manufacture of these new generation of vehicles.”

Leading the charge toward end part production with 3D printing are thermal PBF, in contrast to laser or electron beam PBF, and layerless photopolymerization technologies. The former is currently being deployed by HP and Stratasys, while the latter is the product of a number of companies, like Carbon, 3D Systems, ETEC (Desktop Metal), and more.

A 3D printed Ford parking brake bracket made using Carbon’s layerless photopolymerization technology. Image courtesy of Carbon.

In particular, SmarTech highlights polypropylene to represent a major revenue opportunity in PBF by 2030. Altogether, the market research firm anticipates high-volume direct part production to grow from $80 million in 2022 to over $600 million by the end of the decade.

Smith also sees Europe as achieving higher AM hardware and materials revenues than North America due to the fact that auto companies in that continent, such as Volkswagen, BMW, PSA, Daimler Benz, are leading AM investments there.

To purchase the report or request a sample, visit the report page here.

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