The increasing applications of 3D printing across industries, such as aerospace & defense, automotive, and aviation, and growing demand for mass customization are responsible for the growth of the global 3D printing high-performance plastics market. Due to the aforementioned factors, the industry is projected to witness significant growth during the forecast period (2021–2030).
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major disruption in manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain, which, in turn, caused a scarcity of medical equipment. 3D printers’ ability to create on-demand medical devices, personal protective equipment, and other necessary supplies can compensate for the losses of the industry. Thus, the market for 3D printing high-performance plastics witnessed a positive impact during the pandemic, when most other sectors saw a sharp decline in earnings.
The 3D printing high-performance plastics market is categorized into prototyping, tooling, and functional parts manufacturing, based on application. Among these, the prototyping application category held the largest market share in 2020. This is attributed to the ability of 3D printers to make multiple quick iterations of designs, based on product test results, thus saving time and money in conducting the tests with a functional prototype.
The 3D printing high-performance plastics market is categorized into polyamide (PA), polyetheramide (PEI), polyetheretherketone (PEEK) & polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), reinforced high-pressure processing (HPPs), and others (polyphenylsulfone [PPSU], polyamide-imide [PAI], polysulfone [PSU], and polyethersulfone [PES]), based on type. Among these, the PA category held the dominating share in 2020 owing to the mechanical characteristics of this plastic, such as stability, rigidity, and shock resistance. Moreover, the wide usage of PA in the production of gears and other parts in the automotive, aerospace, medical prostheses, and robotics sectors and injection molds is leading to the market advance.
Geographically, North America accounted for the largest share in the market for 3D printing high-performance plastics in the historical period (2015–2020), and it is expected to retain its position in the coming years. This is primarily attributed to the rising research & development investment due to the increasing focus on technological advancements.
Players in the market for 3D printing high-performance plastics are involved in partnerships to gain a significant position. For instance, in December 2020, Solvay S.A. partnered with PrinterPrezz Inc., a medical 3D printing bureau. This partnership combines polymer and metal 3D-printing and nanotechnology expertise, which is known as the “Medifacturing” approach. PrinterPrezz is collaborating with Solvay in advancing the selective laser sintering (SLS) technology for the fabrication of implants and other medical devices.
Key players in the 3D printing high-performance plastics industry include Arkema S.A., Royal DSM N.V., Stratasys Ltd., Evonik Industries AG, 3D Systems Corporation, EOS GmbH Electro Optical Systems, Victrex plc, Solvay S.A., and Oxford Performance Materials.