Industry-class 3D printing has seen unprecedented growth

Industry-class 3D printing has seen unprecedented growth

Julia Kozlova

Deliveries of industrial polymer 3D printers are on the rise, with HP being the global market leader and UnionTech in China; among the manufacturers of metal 3D printers ahead
newcomers such as Desktop Metal broke out while more traditional powder printer vendors are struggling to survive.


Segmentation of 3D printers by price: industrial ≥ $ 100 thousand, Designer = $ 20 thousand- $ 100 thousand, Professional = $ 2.5 thousand- $ 20 thousand, Personal ≤ $ 2.5 thousand (Excluding printers in kits for
self build).


According to the analytical company CONTEXT, shipments of industrial 3D printers in the third quarter of 2019 increased by 8% compared to the same period last year. In this key sector,
which accounted for almost 70% of all 3D printer sales for the period, showing an impressive 12% growth over the last twelve months. “This increase came as a surprise,
especially given the reports from many suppliers that the demand side of the automotive sector is dwindling, the European economy is sluggish and, in general, the weak global market
industry, impacted their third quarter financial results, “said Chris Connery, Vice President, Global Analysis and Research
CONTEXT think tank.

HP’s industrial polymer 3D printer market (currently ranked second in worldwide supply) showed excellent growth, delivering 347% more printers in Q3
2019 compared to Q3 2018, continuing to produce more affordable color printers, as well as launching large-scale shipments of the latest versions of their most advanced,
high-tech, industry-oriented models. China’s domestic market has also grown, thanks largely to Chinese supplier UnionTech.

While industrial metal printers accounted for only 32% of deliveries (in pieces) in the class during this period, they accounted for just over 51% of revenue. Metal 3D printing is one of the most
fast growing additive manufacturing segments, in which deliveries have increased by an average of 30% over the last two years alone. However, the dominant technology is the layered alloy
powders – in the second half of 2019 there were difficulties. In Q3, 19% less powder 3D printers were shipped than in the same quarter last year, with EOS market leaders and
GE Additive shipments have declined not only in the quarter but in the last 12 months.

Despite this, total shipments of metal 3D printers have increased by 11% thanks to new technologies that are being promoted by Desktop Metal and Markforged. young harvest
extrusion metal 3D printers, which shipments increased by 43% compared to the previous year, is used in the newly emerged markets of prototyping and metal printing of the original
equal. As many of these markets are outside the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors that currently use powder printing systems, growth
the supply of extrusion models is not associated with a reduction in the supply of printers of another type.

In the third quarter of 2019, there was an increase in the markets of North America and China, where compared to the same period last year, shipments of industrial 3D printers increased by 22% and 36%
accordingly, while in Western Europe deliveries fell by 28%. Sales in this sector of the market tend to be more local than in other industries: East-West trade does not
so active through logistics (most industrial printers are very large and very heavy), and also because of unfavorable global trade conditions that impede the prosperity of new ones
technologies, including 3D printing. This trend could also be observed in Q3 2019: Chinese suppliers flourished in the domestic market, while US and European
the companies again saw that most of their sales business was from the West.

Out of the other three major price ranges of 3D printers of finished products – personal, professional and designer – the most notable were the supply of professional-grade printers.
Shipments in the third quarter in the design segment of printers generally did not show growth until last year, and the personal class is going through the best of times, giving way to a batch solution such as
suggests, for example, the Chinese company Creality3D. Sales of professional printers stand out among other impressive growth, increasing by 21% compared to the previous year and by 17%
in the last 12 months. Many suppliers, previously focused on the consumer market, whose explosive growth has not yet occurred, have moved their product lines to this price range.
Particularly notable in the professional printers category this quarter were the results of Formlabs, which finally started shipping new models in batches
increased volume, corresponding to the accumulated demand, and rose to the top of the market in this class, as the availability of its new products was accompanied by brilliant reviews.

“Many forecasts for Q4 2019 and beyond for 2020 have become somewhat cautious at the end of the year, partly due to weakening demand from key regions, partly due to softening of orders
from the major vertical markets and the uncertainty surrounding global trade. The end of the year was also marked by significant management changes in the leading companies
contributed to the short-term uncertainty, “added Chris Connery.

3D printing

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