3D Printing Materials 2014-2025: Status, Opportunities, Market Forecasts
3D printing is currently the subject of a great deal of speculation and excitement in the media. Touted as the technology to bring about the next industrial revolution and the in-sourcing of manufacturing jobs back to the West, the term in fact refers to a raft of technologies each of which is compatible for use with a particular material type.
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In fact the materials market for 3D printing is possibly the most contentious issue in the 3D printing industry today. 3D printer manufacturers are increasingly engaging in practices which are perceived by end-users as anti-competitive by locking customers in to their own materials supplies via key-coding and RFID tagging of material cartridges, an activity which is effectively enabling monopoly pricing of the materials concerned.
Development of new materials for 3D printing is hindered by the practice of lock-in by some 3D printer manufacturers. Barriers to entry for 3rd party materials suppliers are high, and those who do enter the market are unable to get the economies of scale required to accelerate both materials development and progress towards a competitive market.
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In the short to mid-term, downwards pressure on materials prices will be driven mainly by new entrants to the 3D printer manufacture arena that do not engage in lock-in practices and enable customers to source materials from the supplier(s) of their choice, and also by pressure from large end-users wielding buying power to force prices down.
This report gives forecasts to 2025 for the following materials supplies:
- Thermoplastics in solid form (ie. filaments and pellets)
- Thermoplastics in powder form
- Metal powders
- Powder-bed inkjet powders
SWOT analyses in each class are given and end-user requirements detailed.
Materials in development but not yet commercial, which research is mainly taking place in universities, are also discussed.
The market for photopolymers will retain the largest single segment of the market through to 2025 although the other materials markets will gain market share in terms of tons produced driven largely by the move away from prototyping/tooling applications towards final product manufacture.
Highest growth will be seen in the market for metal powders, although production, currently placed at less than 30 tons/year, will remain relatively low. This, in combination with high raw material and processing prices, will combine such that prices for these materials will fall more slowly than for alternative 3D printing materials.
Market growth in a business-as-usual scenario when lock-in remains common practice and prices remain high will be steady, as illustrated below.
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However, extensive interviews with both materials developers and end-users indicate that prices are falling. This will modulate growth of the market size even as mass production increases in line with the growth of the cumulative installed base.
Further, for any given material class, market size (in terms of $M) is more sensitive to the installed base of the corresponding 3D printer technology than to the actual price of the materials themselves. Should material prices increase, only a small reduction in the average utilisation rate of the printer installed base is required for the market size to actually fall as a result.
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Printed and Thin Film Transistors (TFT) and Memory 2013-2023: Forecasts, Technologies, Players: http://www.marketresearchreports.biz/analysis-details/printed-and-thin-film-transistors-tft-and-memory-2013-2023-forecasts-technologies-players
Printed and thin film transistor circuits will become a $180 million market in 10 years, from just $3 million in 2013. They will drive lighting, displays, signage, electronic products, medical disposables, smart packaging, smart labels and much more besides. The chemical, plastics, printing, electronics and other industries are cooperating to make it happen. Already, over 500 organizations are developing printed transistors and memory, with first products being sold commercially in 2009.
The growth over the longer timescale, from 2013-2033, will be very similar to the early growth of the silicon chip market in the same interval. In other words, the twenty years from 1978 to 1998 saw a similar starting and finishing value of sales of silicon chips. History is repeating itself with the printed equivalent over the next twenty years, though not by taking much market share from silicon chips in the first fifteen years. Do not follow the herd into the well aired aspects of this subject. Gain advantage by understanding all the important aspects and opportunities.
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Who should read this report
This report addresses two types of reader. Industrialists, investors and researchers with scientific training can read the report in the order presented. For the first time, they will see the big picture of what is happening and about to happen across the whole world in this subject. This includes the profiles, activities and intentions of 150 leading organizations in this field. We analyze and compare what is happening in 16 countries. Such information is not gathered in any other document. The report also gives the rapidly evolving choices of materials, device designs, chemistry and manufacturing processes for these devices - again a unique analysis. However, this report will also be useful for those with only a rudimentary understanding of science and engineering who seek to understand how the printed electronics revolution will greatly benefit society while creating billion dollar businesses and when and where this will happen.
We start with some descriptions appropriate for the beginner, opening up the subject with as little complexity and jargon as possible.
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