The global automotive 3D printing market is expected to observe an extensive growth in the coming years, due to factors such as reduction in lead time in production, low operational cost, design flexibility, proficient use of raw materials, and ease of customization. In addition, continuous technological advancements, growing manufacturers’ focus on product quality, and growing demand for precision machined components are expected to benefit the market. Apart from this, availability of entry-level low-cost 3D printers is anticipated to have a positive impact on the market’s growth.
On the basis of component, the automotive 3D printing market is categorized into technologies, materials, and services. During the forecast period, the market is anticipated to witness the fastest growth in the category of technologies. The category is further classified into stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), electron beam melting (EBM), fused deposition modeling (FDM), laminated object manufacturing (LOM), and others.
Additionally, materials category is further divided into metals, polymers, and others. Polymers are most extensively used 3D printing materials, mainly due to their strength and flexibility properties. However, the metals are anticipated to gain traction in the near future in the automotive 3D printing market, mainly because they can withstand high pressure and temperature.
Geographically, North America was the largest automotive 3D printing market, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific, during the historical period. The penetration of 3D printing application is highest in North America mainly due to early adoption of technologies as compared to other regions. However, Asia-Pacific is expected to lead the market during the forecast period, owing to increasing investments by public and private establishments in the region. Also, countries such as China and India are expected to invest heavily to commercialize several technologies in the automotive sector. Additionally, expiration of key patents related to 3D printing processes has impelled manufacturers and start-ups to enter the market in the region. Apart from these, decline in prices of 3D printers would also boost the demand for 3D printing.
Increasing need to manufacture complex design in the automotive sector within short span of time, coupled with increasing demand for precise machined components and high product quality is the primary factor driving the automotive 3D printing market. 3D printing process has a number of advantages over traditional manufacturing process such as shorter value chain, time and cost reduction through elimination of assembly steps, greater customization and design freedom, and minimal wastage. Additionally, at the initial stage of production, the usage of 3D printing is beneficial, as designers can early identify errors or defects from initial prototype; thus, eventually reduces overall production lead time and operational cost.
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The global automotive 3D printing market is concentrated with few major players. One of the main key players in the market is 3D Systems Corporation. The company provides 3D printing solutions with several features, including transformation workflows, design optimization, and innovation in product application. Other leading vendors in the industry are Stratasys Ltd., Autodesk In.c, Arcam AB, EnvisionTEC Inc., Höganäs AB, Optomec Inc., Ponoko Limited, Stratasys Ltd., The ExOne Company, and Voxeljet AG.