The term 3D printing refers to the technology in which 3-dimensional solid objects are manufactured using additives. The printer or device uses a 3-dimensional digital image of the object as a reference point and manufactures the object by laying successive layers. This is quite opposite to the subtractive manufacturing in which objects are produced through cutting or hollowing out. The process of 3D printing requires less material even while making complex objects as it incorporates minimal wastage through additive manufacturing.
Products manufactured by 3D printers are highly customized, however, the 3D printing market has not been able to reach an enterprise-level. The 3D printers are highly accurate in product manufacturing but they are also quite slow. It can take hours to manufacture even a small product. In addition, the use of materials for production is still limited to soft metals, and plastic and its derivatives. The 3D printing market has still not achieved its true potential, though it is getting ready to reach there in the next 10-15 years. The first bio printing of human limbs and organs is projected to be accomplished in 2020 whereas industrial-scale 3D printing will be achieved by 2025. Since the industry is setting its foothold, it is growing at high Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 25-35 percent in various sectors.
Business Opportunities in 3D Printing Market:
The 3D printing industry is new and it is filled with a number of business opportunities especially in emerging economies in the APAC region. Local industries in many developing countries are finding new ways to develop personalized products for different sectors. In such a scenario, 3D printing can emerge as a viable option that is fully-automated, involves minimal wastage, and still can produce jobs for experts in different industries.
As of now, 3D printing technology is used in sectors such as aerospace, defense, and construction. Some other sectors such as fashion and energy are also adopting 3D printing technology. Such high growth in the respective sectors is due to the customization aspect of 3D printing as it can manufacture almost any type of complex products with low raw material requirements and minimal wastage.
Choosing a specific type of 3D printing technology for particular businesses is going to be a key decision for industry leaders. However, the printing technology itself has to play an important role in this aspect as it still has to achieve faster building speeds, utilize different energy sources and raw materials, and add value to a business. The industry leaders will also have to democratize the sector by encouraging technology and start using it in their main production processes. This can be a huge step towards delivering mass personalized products to consumers.
The 3d printers are being used in rapid prototyping, presentation models, pattern-making, and direct part manufacturing in industries such as consumer electronics and medical devices. The supply market of 3D printing is also not developed on an enterprise level and the companies that supply 3D printing devices focus only on providing maintenance services. Other suppliers associated with the 3D printing industry usually supply office tools and software packages.
Career Opportunities in 3D Printing Market:
The technology of 3D printing is rapidly making its mark upon every industry across the globe and its applications require expertise in the respective industry as well. Some universities across the globe have started degree courses that aim to train students in working with 3D printing devices in different industries.
Engineering: Expert engineers are required in the industry for operating and maintaining the equipment. Mechanical and/or software engineers possess the know-how that can be utilized for producing functional models across every industry.
Biomedical Technology: Innovations in healthcare technology have also become a part of the 3D printing industry. Here, medical researchers will be required to work with technicians so that they can produce functional models of human limbs or organs. Such developments in the industry will also support medical professionals to opt for the technology more aggressively.
Graphic Design: The technology for 3D printing involves the use of advanced designing tools and software to convert required visual concepts into reality. A strong background in 3D animation and design ensures that the individual will have a smooth journey in the industry, to design prototypes and functional products for 3D printing.
Software Development: Current 3D printing software is less complicated and the majority of industries have only a few options to choose from. As the industry grows, developers will have to create cross-platform software that is industry specific as well.
The 3D printing industry is growing rapidly and it has the potential to become an integral component of the other industries. It is widely accepted in the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) industry due to their requirements of specific spares. However, 3D printing technology has to make itself viable for a majority of other industries so that they can implement it in their core processes as well. Based on the rapid growth predicted for the industry, there will be a corresponding increase in career opportunities in the field.
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