The global market for 3D printing equipment, materials, software, and services is estimated to be worth $31 billion by 2029, according to a recent market research study from IDTechEx Research. After initial commercialization in the 1990s, 3D printing underwent a period of intense interest in 2013. Key players were quick to capitalize on this interest, enjoying exponential revenue growth from 2013-2016 as a result.

Since then, the hype has subsided and additive manufacturing is starting to find its place among other manufacturing methods. In particular, focus has now shifted away from the consumer and rapid prototyping, and toward the digitization of workflows and the manufacture of production-quality final products.

Several industries are now seriously analyzing the benefits and competitive edge that 3D printing can lend their operations, and the most eagerly anticipated technological innovations are catering to these professional users. Although all signs point to a period of seriousness and readjustment in the 3D printing market as it transitions to cater to the needs of this user group, enormous potential remains for growth over the next decade.

In 2018, the 3D printing market comprised multiple different printer technologies compatible with polymer, metal, and ceramic materials. Additive manufacturing technologies include vat photopolymerization (SLA/DLP/CLIP), powder bed fusion (SLS/DMLS/EBM), material extrusion, material jetting, binder jetting, directed energy deposition, and sheet lamination.

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