After years of hype, the 3D printing industry has reached a tipping point, where it is set to become a real alternative to traditional manufacturing processes.
The demand is here, with 42% of manufacturers expecting to use 3D printing for mass manufacturing in the next 3-5 years. Already major brands such as BMW, Nike and Johnson & Johnson are looking at 3D printing as a means to produce custom parts. And the technology is here. For instance, HP last year launched commercial grade industrial 3D printers which can produce parts 10 times faster and at half the cost of the previous generation of 3D printers.
This demand and supply boom puts 3D printing on the brink of taking a significant slice of the $12 trillion global manufacturing industry. However, there is an obstacle that needs to be overcome to unlock its full potential: there is an urgent need for a transfusion of fresh blood if this nascent industry is to thrive and mature.