The latest industry report by online 3D printing network 3D Hubs has found that the total value of parts 3D printed in the last year gained a 300% increase, suggesting a shift to a more professional, industrial-centric user base.
The annual report, published today, found that 40% of all online 3D printed parts in 2019 were designed for serial production, based on insights from the company’s order database and a review of market analysis and media reports. Over 550,000 parts were produced via 3D Hubs online platform alone, and over 65% of that demand is believed to have come from industrial, electrical or consumer goods applications.
North America and Europe, where many of 3D Hubs’ 240 manufacturing partners are located, were identified as the leading locations for users of online 3D printing services, representing more than 95% of global demand. US businesses accounted for nearly 50%, while UK companies made up 12% of the market. The Netherlands, where the company is headquartered, was the third largest user base, printing over 30,000 parts.
Key outcomes from the report show that 3D printing is now being adopted for serial production for applications across automotive, aerospace, maritime, medical, space, sports goods, rail and defence sectors. 3D Hubs claims more professional users are turning to online platforms to fulfil their manufacturing needs, driven by the availability of and access to multiple processes and materials that they may not be able to invest in in-house. Furthermore, the report found that 3D printing is being complemented by other technologies such as CNC machining and low-run injection moulding on the factory floor.
The report also highlights the level of investment being driven into additive manufacturing. Startups with activities in 3D printing raised over 1.1 billion USD in 2019 alone, primarily in the area of “applied 3D printing”, while 3D printer manufacturers acquired over two-thirds of the total funding from venture capitalists.
Speaking to leading AM companies including HP, Formlabs and Carbon about their thoughts on how the industry will progress in 2020; “impossible geometries” thanks to a better understanding of design for additive manufacturing, increased accessibility to more powerful systems, and breakthrough applications that will replace traditional processes, were cited as key predictions for the industry going forward.
3D Hubs Co-founder and CEO, Bram de Zwart, added: “2020 marks a new decade in which manufacturing will become more localised, on-demand and freed of design constraints. 3D printing is a key driver of this change.”