3D Printing Filaments Market Overview
With revenue stood at $544.8 million in 2018, the global 3D printing filaments market is projected to reach $2,146.2 million by 2024, by demonstrating a CAGR of 25.4% during the forecast period. The growth in the market can be mainly attributed to the rising demand for 3D printed parts and components in the automotive and the aerospace industries, and increasing adoption of these filaments for mass customization of industrial goods.
3D printing filament is basically a material or a feedstock used in 3D printer using fused deposition modelling technique for developing a particular product. There are different types of filament available in the 3D printing filaments market that have different physical and chemical properties. Some of the widely used filaments are made up of plastics, metals, and ceramics.
Based on type, the 3D printing filaments market is classified into plastics, metals, ceramics, and others (wood and carbon fiber). Among these, plastic filaments accounted for above 95% market share, in terms of volume, in 2018. This significant market share is attributed to their applications in manufacturing of wide variety of products ranging from prosthetics to table top gaming parts. In addition, there are various types of plastic filaments, majorly PLA and ABS, which are used in printing of several 3D objects. Thus, wide adoption of the plastic filaments is expected to fuel the market growth in the forthcoming years.
On the basis of application, the 3D printing filaments market is categorized into industrial, aerospace and defense, automotive, consumer goods, healthcare, and others (fashion, electronics, art and sculpture, jewelry, food, and architecture). Among these, the aerospace and defense category accounted for the largest market share, of over 20%, in terms of volume, in 2018. The high demand for filaments in the aerospace and defense industry is ascribed to the production of aircraft and defense vehicles, and their equipment and components in huge volume. Further, high adoption of 3D printing technology in several industries is expected to boost the demand for 3D printing filaments in the coming years.
Based on region, the 3D printing filaments market is classified into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific (APAC), and Rest of the World (RoW). Among these, North America held the largest share in the market, with a contribution of over 40% revenue, in 2018. With the introduction of 3D printing technology in mass production of intermediate products, the demand for 3D printing filaments is increasing in the region. Moreover, aircraft manufacturing companies, such as Lockheed Martin Corporation and The Boeing Company, are developing integrated manufacturing systems, which seamlessly incorporate 3D printing into their manufacturing facilities. This is expected to boost the market growth in the region.
3D Printing Filaments Market Dynamics
Several manufacturing industries have witnessed a shift in using filament-based 3D printing processes instead of relying on traditional manufacturing methods for the development of various products. Earlier, subtractive manufacturing was one of the widely used manufacturing methods that includes molding, casting, forging, extruding, and cutting processes to manufacture products. The traditional manufacturing method requires a large number of machines to manufacture a product that results in high production cost, allocation of more manpower, and high production time. Owing to such drawbacks, 3D printing processes have been witnessing higher acceptance in various industries across the globe.
The growth of the 3D printing filaments market is being driven by increasing demand for 3D printed parts and components in the aerospace and the automotive industries, and need for achieving mass customization of products.
Globally, the aerospace industry has witnessed considerable growth, fueled by the growing tourism industry and rapid rise in the global aviation traffic. In order to align business strategies with increasing tourism, several aviation companies have boosted the sales of commercial aircraft around the world, which in result, increases the production of aircraft components. In the process of producing high volume of aircraft components, the companies have started using additive manufacturing technique. These components are manufactured using various filaments such as ABS, PLA, and nylon. These filaments have shown benefits such as reduction in weight of the manufactured products, high strength, and achievement of complex and customized designs while ensuring minimum wastages. Owing to the aforementioned benefits, the demand for 3D printing filaments used in the aerospace industry will continue to rise during the forecast period.
Along with the aerospace industry, several other industries are also registered positive growth in recent times, and therefore, they require mass production of components in less time with low cost. In order to meet requirements, several manufacturers from various industries have started using 3D printing technology for mass customization of intermediates or final products without any additional cost, as it does not involve initial cost of mold, specific tooling, and others, which are needed in traditional manufacturing techniques. Thus, high adoption of the technology is expected to fuel the demand for 3D printing filaments during the forecast period.
Lack of technical knowledge and expertise of 3D printing technique is one of the major factors that slightly restraining the growth of the 3D printing filaments market. The lack of technical expertise of a process can lead to misinterpret things sometimes. For instance, at initial stage, 3D printing was envisaged to be highly disruptive technology that will soon replace conventional manufacturing, which in reality did not happen. To understand the concept of 3D printing, better training programs are required, so that this technology can be taken forward with expertise.
Polymers are the most common type of filaments used for 3D printing, however, new filaments are coming in the market, such as paper and organic tissues, which are providing new opportunities to the 3D printing filaments market players. The development of new filaments will allow industry players to explore new products and encourage new products development for the use in less explored industries such as electronics. In recent years, the players are establishing small labs to explore new filaments and business opportunities. Thus, the expanding set of new filaments is expected to remain as a major opportunity area in the market.
3D printing filaments market’s competitive landscape
Some of the major players operating in the global 3D printing filaments market are Stratasys Ltd., 3D Systems Corporation, Airwolf 3D, colorFabb B.V., Markforged Inc., Push Plastic, Shenzhen Esun Industrial Co. Ltd., Soildspace Technology LLP, TreeD Filaments, and Innofil3D BV.