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SmarTech forecast Polymer PBF to be the fastest growing segment in 3D printing

Segment expected to grow at 28% CAGR Through 2027

SmarTech Publishing, the leading provider of industry analysis and market forecasting data to the additive manufacturing industry is forecasting that the rapid evolution of the once niche polymer powder bed fusion 3D printing segment will result in $2.4B in hardware revenues by 2027.

These results were published in the company’s latest study Polymer Powder Bed Fusion 3D Printing Markets 2018. Combined with strong demand for industrial production solutions for polymer 3D printed parts, the current growth path makes polymer powder bed fusion technology the fastest growing of all polymer 3D printing technology groups, growing at close to double the total industry average for hardware revenue opportunities.

The report is the second of four deep-dive market research studies on the primary polymer 3D printing technology markets to be released by SmarTech, each focusing on one of the major polymer 3D printing technologies. Each technology is expected to develop into independent market opportunities with unique strengths, weaknesses, and strategic advantages.

About the report

This report is released as a stand-alone deep dive analysis for polymer powder bed fusion 3D printing. It is accompanied by the release of other reports from SmarTech Publishing on individual polymer 3D printing technologies including material extrusion, vat photopolymerization, and jetting methods of binder and material jetting. While a fully featured, market-wide market analysis report from SmarTech Publishing was also released earlier this year, this report focuses specifically on the issues, challenges, opportunities, and growth of powder bed fusion 3D printing in the professional and industrial use environment. The report features a wealth of technology-specific data focused on identifying both hardware and material opportunities, including printer shipments and revenues, installations, material shipments by polymer class, and resulting material sales revenues.

Polymer powder bed fusion technology has long been regarded as perhaps the most readily available 3D polymer printing technology which bridges the gap between typical rapid prototyping printing and real manufacturing of end-use components. But just like the other polymer 3D printing technologies, what once was standard in the powder bed fusion segment is now changing, with a great influx of competitors to challenge the historic leaders, and entirely new methods of sintering polymer powders based on a combination of inkjet and infrared heating rather than lasers.

For the classic and still widely employed laser sintering process, polymer technologies are benefitting greatly from the efforts in the metal powder bed fusion segment with regards to industrialization –and an area where metal technologies suddenly have leapfrogged polymer printers. These efforts have resulted in new and increasingly prevalent polymer powder bed fusion hardware featuring automated powder handling and unpacking, removable build modules for greater uptime during the cooling cycle, and greater emphasis on high-temperature printing capabilities to expand material options.

The combined geographic region of Asia Pacific, including China, will challenge the North American and European regions for investment into powder bed fusion 3D printers and is expected to spend more on powder bed fusion systems than any other region in 2019.


Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as both a technology journalist and communications consultant. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he received his undergraduate degree from SUNY Stony Brook. He is a senior analyst for US-based firm SmarTech Publishing focusing on the additive manufacturing industry. He founded London-based 3D Printing Business Media Ltd. (now 3dpbm) which specializes in marketing, editorial and market analysys&consultancy services for the additive manufacturing industry. 3dpbm publishes 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies related to 3DP, as well as several editorial websites, including 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore.

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