Increasing industrialization efforts across various plastic printing technologies will result in $16 billion in industry revenues from the sale of printers and polymer-based print materials by 2027, according to a study published by SmarTech Publishing (Crozet, VA).
The study provides in-depth analysis of the technologies, including material extrusion, powder bed fusion, vat photo polymerization, material jetting and binder jetting processes, as well as materials ranging from thermoplastic filaments, pellets and powders to thermoplastic composites. It also offers insights on four end-user segments—dentistry, biomedical, automotive and aerospace—that SmarTech believes will drive market growth over the next decade.
Extrusion-based 3D printing generated more than 41% of all hardware revenues for polymer 3D printing in professional environments in 2017, according to SmarTech. Efforts to industrialize the classic extrusion printing concept are taking shape primarily in two areas: Increasing the isotropic properties and Z-axis strength of parts, and improving the potential for high-throughput manufacturing potential. Companies such as BASF, Stratasys, BigRep, Essentium and dozens more are working to redesign and improve filament extruders, develop thermoplastic composite materials, create multi-axis extrusion systems and focus on high-volume, swarm manufacturing using printer farms, notes the study.