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Healthcare Additive Manufacturing Still AM’s Backbone in 2019, But for How Long?


The healthcare segment, including both dental and medical markets, continued as expected to provide a strong industry backbone for additive manufacturing while efforts to move into industrial manufacturing markets continued at a relatively slow pace during the year. Healthcare markets have been long since established in terms of value proposition for AM, with applications spanning a full spectrum ranging from prototyping for medical devices to serial manufacturing of high quality medical implants and dental restorations. What sets the healthcare industry apart for AM continue to be three things -the need for individualized custom production, a set of applications based around improving medical and dental treatments which have low production requirements but high proven value, and the role of outsourced production specialists to produce printed devices for care professionals and groups.

When breaking down total AM market opportunities by sector, comparisons can be drawn between healthcare markets and ‘industrial’ markets, which might include aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, general industrial goods and products, energy markets, and others. A third sector could also be compared against these two, the unique community of worldwide third party 3D printing and additive manufacturing service providers, who serve both healthcare and industrial clients.

As seen in the infographic, medical and dental markets are estimated to have made up just over 40 percent of total AM revenues during 2019, down just slightly from 2018’s record high of 40.9 percent. However, the rate of annual year over year growth for the healthcare segment is expected to fall below year over year growth in industrial AM for the first time in many years, beginning a new trend for 2020 and beyond where industrial markets gain in strategic importance.

Key Details

  • Healthcare markets in AM continue to perform well despite broader industry challenges breaking more deeply into industrial manufacturing in the past year Healthcare markets, encompassing medical and dental sectors, accounted for just over 40 percent of all AM revenues in 2019 Efforts to penetrate further into industrial markets have already begun to result in faster growth in industrial markets like automotive, oil and gas, and industrial products during 2019, with the expectation for further acceleration in 2020

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