Forecast: 3D Printing Industry to Generate $18.8B in Revenues by 2023


As per the recent “AM Parts Produced 2023: Global Market Data & Forecast” report by Additive Manufacturing Research (formerly known as SmarTech Analysis), the 3D printing sector is estimated to grow from $18.8 billion in 2023 to a whopping $119 billion by 2032.

The report stresses the immense role additive manufacturing technologies have in many industries in the next ten years. Not only does it present figures, but it also provides an in-depth view into the quantities and market values of components produced additively. These include a broad range of applications from aerospace parts such as aircraft and helicopter engine parts, to crucial elements in the power sector such as nuclear reactor components.

The report furnishes extensive data covering prototypes, tools, tooling, and end-use production components across eight key industries, delving into various part categorizations. It is based on real market activity till Q2 of 2023 and also projects trends for the upcoming decade.

In 2023, the 3D printing industry saw a significant trend in metal AM. Although there was a slowdown in global growth of metal additive prototyping compared to the previous year, there was a similar deceleration in additive tool production. On the flip side, there was a noticeable acceleration in the printing of end-use metal components. This indicates a shift of focus within the metal AM sector, underlining the increased importance of functional, final-use parts over prototyping and tool production.

On the polymer front, the year brought modest but noteworthy developments. The market for 3D printed polymer prototypes grew by 5 percent, a small increase that belies the significant surge in the overall volume of polymer parts printing. This growth was predominantly driven by end-use parts, a trend largely credited to the increasing adoption of material extrusion and powder bed fusion technologies. These technologies have unlocked new potentials in polymer printing, enabling more widespread and versatile use of 3D printing in various industries.

The dental sector, traditionally a significant contributor to AM print volumes, presented a mixed picture in 2023. Influenced by broader global economic factors such as inflation and shifts in consumer spending, the sector experienced dampened printing activities. One of the notable indicators of this trend was the growth in aligner thermoforming prints, which saw a global increase of just 4 percent. This subdued growth in a key area of dental printing reflects the broader challenges faced by the industry in the context of a changing economic landscape.

A standout observation from the data is the soaring valuation of metal powder bed fusion (PBF) technology, which is anticipated to lead the pack with its market value projected to surpass $50 billion by 2032. This striking ascent underscores the increasing reliance on and confidence in metal PBF within the manufacturing sector. While other 3D printing technologies—such as metal direct energy deposition (DED), metal binder jet, and a spectrum of polymer processes—are also on an upward trend, their growth appears more measured in comparison.

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