Exploring the Future: Predicted Trends for the 3D Printing Industry in 2024


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What might happen in 3D printing in 2024? [Source: Fabbaloo / LAI]

Many have asked, so here’s my thoughts on the new year of 2024 and 3D printing.

I dislike making predictions; one can see trends, but it’s always unclear exactly when they may “hit”, or the side effects that come with them. Nevertheless, I’m going to list some of the concerns I’ve been having about the industry in this post.

Desktop 3D Printing

I foresee a significant disruption in the realm of desktops, primarily incited by Bambu Lab’s unveiling of their A1 series. The quality of this product is nearly identical to their premium X1/P1 series, but at a much lower cost. A compared analysis with any rival products appears unfair, given Bambu Lab’s pioneering stature in multiple facets.

As a consequence of this upheaval, corporate entities have two choices: either evolve or vanish. A segment of these companies may identify their inability to thrive in the changing desktop landscape and pivot towards other markets such as the professional or manufacturing sectors. Some may lack the adaptability to transition successfully, imposing the risk of their downfall. The bigger enterprises could face critical challenges as shrinkage in revenue is likely to eat into their substantial budgets, necessitating austerity measures.

Bambu Lab’s commitment to usability is an overlooked component of the disruption. It is a quality that many contemporaries in the 3D printer manufacturing industry tend to disregard. It’s worth noting that Bambu Lab’s origins are rooted in DJI, a company that transformed drones from a specialized gadget to a consumer commodity. They are undoubtedly set to replicate this feat in the domain of desktop 3D printing.

The repercussion of this is a potential bifurcation of the market. One segment will continue to cater to the DIY nuances of desktop 3D printing, where the end ambition is centered around the enjoyment derived from assembling the machines. The other, significantly larger segment is the actual consumer market, the objective of which is to ensure seamless operation of the machine, producing quality prints without any hassle. The advent of this split may cause companies to gravitate towards a particular side.

In 2024, the age of slow 3D printers will likely come to an end. The recent surge in fast-paced devices has rendered older, slower models absolutely outdated. Therefore, it is unlikely that leading 3D printer producers would still be selling slower models by the end of the year.

Professional 3D Printing

Disruption is also imminent in this sector, largely driven by Bambu Lab. Their X1 and P1 series are systematically eroding the market share of numerous mid-level 3D printer manufacturers, who typically priced their products between US$4,000 and US$10,000. Why opt for those machines when a US$1000 device can perform similarly or even better?

In this sector, numerous companies are expected to go under. These companies are unable to penetrate the desktop market and find it incredibly challenging to break into the industrial sector.

Survival in the industry may lie in a focus on expanding the breadth of material capabilities. The professional sector will likely start emphasizing on materials and shift attention away from other machine specifications.

Industrial 3D Printing

In recent discussions, it’s evident that grand ambitions in large-scale 3D printing have largely fallen short. A number of prominent companies attracted enormous investments with the promise of making significant inroads into the lucrative manufacturing industry, which is estimated at US$12 trillion annually.

I am of the view that the technologies these companies rely on are largely unsuitable for industrial applications, as they are merely extrapolations of desktop technology. There’s a dire need for innovative technological strategies that can deliver the scalability, cost-effectiveness and efficiency the industry demands.

At present, we can observe numerous significantly funded large-scale 3D printing firms with dubious financial statements. My expectation is to see a series of mergers, acquisitions, and possible breakdowns as they strive for survival.

The clever strategy for these enterprises would be to purchase a burgeoning company which possesses genuinely industry-suited technology for enhanced usage.

Contained within the extensively funded companies are few that declined venture capital financing and have nonetheless achieved profitability. Although the sector on the whole is deemed an investment disaster, this does not hold true uniformly on a company by company basis. These firms will persist, and possibly employ their gleaned insights to progressively penetrate the manufacturing domain.

In conclusion, there are several genuinely fascinating start-up firms that have brokered technologies capable of meeting industrial requirements. These technologies are scalable, efficient, and capable of utilizing various materials. The upcoming year could be the appropriate juncture for their formal entry into the market and displace some of the current key players.

Original source

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“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”


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GCode-Guru

Meet the mastermind behind NozzleNerds.com: GCode-Guru, a 3D printing wizard whose filament collection rivals their sock drawer. Here to demystify 3D tech with a mix of expert advice, epic fails, and espresso-fueled rants. If you've ever wondered how to print your way out of a paper bag (or into a new coffee cup), you're in the right place. Dive into the world of 3D printing with us—where the only thing more abundant than our prints is our sarcasm.

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