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downloadWhile many of us may consider the 3D printing market to be looking pretty good, according to analysts–there’s a real boom ahead.  Over the next five years, analysts such as A.T. Kearney predict that these new technological processes will show their true validity, far beyond what you see today, with skyrocketing numbers.

According to research at A.T. Kearney, shedding the more traditional ways of manufacturing, designing, and creating are going to lead an increase in billions within the 3D printing industry. The global consulting company, founded in 1926 and with offices in over 40 countries, has turned a strong focus to looking at the progress of 3D printing, and how it’s going to affect nearly every business. And, ahem, that means you should probably take note as well. The firm has outlined the current state of the 3D printing industry, as well as their predictions in 3D Printing: A Manufacturing Revolution.

The numbers show that the 3D printing market is expected to increase from $4.5 billion today to $17.2 billion by 2020–worldwide. These numbers predict a leap in growth of 25% overall, especially coming from the energy sector, as well as–from the other spectrum–jewelry. While the two industries may seem far apart, the expected increases in volume are a true demonstration of how far-reaching the power of 3D printing is, with the ability to offer self-sustainability on both a massive and more indulgent level, as well as putting so much more power directly into the hands of the people–and we mean that literally.

“The question is not if but when companies need to consider 3D printing,” state A.T. Kearney researchers in their paper.

UntitledThey state the benefits, proving themselves now to be true on a daily basis, globally:

  • Mass customization
  • New capabilities
  • Lead time and speed
  • Supply chain simplification
  • Waste reduction

The basic premise is now that we’ve got it–there’s no turning back. Researchers have well taken into account the disruptive effect 3D printing is going to have across the board. While traditional subtractive manufacturing processes have been responsible in machining, one day 3D printing just came along and turned that all on its ear–with that idea that you can do the exact opposite by adding instead of taking away–and see much improvement.

In using additive manufacturing, much more efficiency and affordability is offered for large-scale (and smaller scale) manufacturing. Customization options for designers and their shoppers, as well as the opportunity for so many newcomers to enter the market factor in substantially also though.

While for the layperson it may already seem that 3D printing has hit a gimmicky peak of sorts, the reality is much different.

“Hardware could be five to seven years away from achieving the technical and cost requirements needed to go beyond its current prototyping role into supporting production across board, multi-material categories,” state the researchers.

UntitledSo, while there is certainly a flurry of activity and progress right now, 3D printing still has a way to go, along with offering greater impacts, more disruption, true change, and promoting an already thriving industry and marketplace further.

The analysts foresee much greater progress in software and hardware. Education will become much more comprehensive as the world begins to see 3D printing is not just helpful to big industry. While 3D printing programs are being integrated into many schools, the mainstream population is still learning about what the technology can do overall, as well as for them.

The main areas where most of us are familiar with, that are seeing the most innovation are from the medical, automotive and aerospace industries. We report on a multitude of stories every day, featuring lives that are impacted greatly by devices like that of a 3D printed spleen or a 3D printed liver model–and there’s far more. In automotive, we’ve covered the differences that are made for the big names like Ford to Lamborghini. Aerospace is being transformed in numerous ways with much extended research going on continually, from examining the potential for 3D printed fuselages to 3D printed titanium components.

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