1.1 Definition and scope of the study
A 3D printer is a machine that can project real objects in three dimensions from a file and then create them physically using 3D design softwares. The objects created can be models, spare parts, scale models or prototypes. 3D printers can be industrial or office printers depending on their use.
The production involves the following resources:
- The production of 3D printing materials (plastics, resins, metal powder)
- The use of a 3D printer
- One software (creative software)
- 3D printing services and consulting activities (optional)
The market for 3D printers (or additive manufacturing) thus includes the following activities:
- The sale of 3D printing machines and solutions
- The sale of printed products by means of specialized machines for customers wishing to make prototypes of particular products
- Printing services
The global 3D printing market is expanding rapidly; between 2020 and 2024 the market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 26%. Several factors are triggering this growth including a reduction in manufacturing costs and process downtime (which enables more players to enter the market and development to occur faster), government investment, and an adoption and extension in the number of materials which can be used for printing.
In the UK, The growth of the 3D printing market is expected to be at double-digit figures in 2019 and 2020. [Deloitte] One segment which will grow in particular will be bionic prosthetic limbs. This growth is fueled by access to a larger number of materials which in turn extend the possibilities with printing.
Between 2010 and 2019, HP issued the largest number of patents, followed by General Electric, Siemens, Compal Electronics, United Technologies Corporation, and EOS. [cipher]
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