3D Printing Reaches Double-Digit Quarterly Growth with $3.7B in Q1

Formnext Germany

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The global additive manufacturing (AM) market demonstrated strong growth in the first quarter of 2023, defying economic challenges, according to the latest data from SmarTech Analysis. The market experienced double-digit sequential growth compared to the previous quarter, with a 10.0 percent increase, reaching $3.7 billion in value. This remarkable performance underscores the resilience and potential of the additive manufacturing industry amid a changing economic landscape.

For over eight years, SmarTech Analysis has been at the forefront of tracking and analyzing AM market data on a quarterly basis. This includes its “Core Metals” and “Core Polymers” products, which provide almost a decade of historical data and forward 10-year forecasts. The latest data indicates that, while investments in hardware and materials remained relatively stable on a sequential basis, the utilization of AM services in the post-pandemic era fueled market growth in the beginning of 2023. Encouragingly, the year-over-year results showcased positive trends across all sectors, with metal 3D printing markets experiencing over 20 percent growth and polymer 3D printing markets seeing a 17 percent increase.

The use of additive manufacturing in general industrial and energy markets drove noteworthy public applications. From power plants to filtration systems and the production of customized cutting tools, the “General Industrial” sector, as tracked by SmarTech’s metal additive market database, is projected to become the second-largest consumer of metal powder through AM by the end of the forecast period, second only to the Aerospace sector. SmarTech also offers a dedicated report to this sector, “Market Opportunities for Additive Manufacturing in the General Industry and Tooling Sector 2020-2029.”

SmarTech also highlights that one of the major growth dynamics in the powder bed fusion (PBF) market over the past few years, where new entrants at the industry’s edges have driven growth, but core competitors have not experienced comparable continuous growth. The company attributes this trend primarily to customer acquisition and the retention of expert employees. This dynamic was recently noted in a recent 3DPrint.com interview with consultant John Barnes, as well as in the  “Emerging AM Technologies Analysis: 10 Companies to Watch” from SmarTech Analysis.

Scott Dunham, SmarTech Analysis EVP Research, commented, “While some industry players painted a more negative picture of the market’s conditions to start the year, the AM market continues to grow at the edges because the value proposition in additive hasn’t really changed despite the economic waves of the last two years. The biggest names are finding, however, that scale is difficult to achieve. We believe this is because initial adoption barriers for AM are low, while significant, game-changing adoption is difficult to achieve for customers. This will likely be the status quo for a while, and it underscores the importance that customer facing consulting groups, flexible machine configurations, and a stable executive and corporate structure can play in succeeding as an AM company.”

Accelerated growth from quarter to quarter demonstrates that the AM industry is expanding more quickly than in the past, reflecting SmarTech’s recent prediction that this same trend will be seen from year to year in the near future. Previously, SmarTech estimated that $25 billion by 2025, driven by roughly 25 percent annual growth.

3DPrint.com was early in anticipating a manufacturing supercycle, driven by key megatrends, specifically the need for supply chain resilience and decarbonization, both caused in large part by decreasing supplies of easily accessible fossil fuels and resources. These developments have spurred national, international, and private capital investment into nearshoring and local manufacturing with an emphasis on smart manufacturing technologies, including 3D printing. This is reflected in the increased use of AM in the energy and general manufacturing sectors. Now, as other outlets begin to recognize this supercycle, it’s no surprise that the industry has experienced double-digit quarterly growth, which only ramp up as the supercycle continues.

Quarterly reports on the metal and polymer AM markets are available as a one-time or subscription purchase via SmarTech’s website and are customizable as needed. For more information on stand alone reports or ongoing subscription services for the additive market, go to: http://www.smartechanalysis.com/data-services

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