- Prototyping (63%), proof of concept (27%) and production (26%) are the three most dominant uses of 3D printing in Europe today. The same priorities apply to America (prototyping (56%); proof of concept (43%); production (27%) and marketing samples (17%).
- 68% of respondents are forecasting their spending on additive manufacturing will increase in 2015.
- Accelerating new product development and the ability to offer customized or limited-run products are the leading 3D printing priorities today.
These and other insights are from an extensive survey of 3D printing adoption published today by Sculpteo titled The State of 3D Printing (26 pp., opt-in). 1,118 respondents were contacted in sixteen vertical markets, with 91% being located in America (27%) and Europe (64%). Overall, the sample is comprised of companies and individuals in 50 countries working in 16 different industries. Please see page 3 of the study for an expanded description of their methodology. Sculpteo is based in Paris and San Francisco, offering 3D manufacturing on demand and of scale to start-ups, SMEs and design studios.
Key take-aways of the study include the following:
- 44% reported they will increase their spending on additive manufacturing by 50% or more this year. Overall, 68% of respondents are forecasting their spending on additive manufacturing will increase in 2015.
- Accelerating product development (32%), offering customized products and limited series (28%) and increasing production efficiency/buying a 3D printer (13% each) are the top three priorities related to 3D printing in 2015. The following graphic compares the top priorities related to 3D printing in 2015 versus 2020.
- Determining factors in the adoption of 3D printing globally that are most important center on machine consistency & capabilities and material & supply costs. The five most important factors include machine consistency & capabilities (60%), material and supply costs (53%), understanding customer needs (28%), clear legal framework (24%), reverse engineering (21%) and training teams (20%). The following graphic compares adoption factors by level of importance.
- When respondents were asked if there are any trends that they anticipate having a major impact on 3D printing, materials (21.5%), new markets (17.2%) and easy 3D modeling (17%) emerged as most significant. The following graphic is based on textual analysis and multi-categorical semantic analysis of the responses. In all, twelve major themes recurred across all responses.
- European 3D printing early adopters are more focused on attaining scale, while their Americas-based counterparts are focused on pragmatic factors of co-creation and buying a 3D printer. Europeans are more focused on offering customized products and limited series (21% in 2015 growing to 43% in 2020) and increasing production flexibility (9% in 2015 growing to 14% in 2020). The following graphic compares America and Europe along the dimensions of 3D printing priorities.
- 26% of European respondents consider themselves advanced or professional at 3D printing techniques compared to 23% of Americas-based respondents. Europeans see 3D printing as the defined domain of trained specialists. Americans perceive 3D printing can be used for everything and is accessible to everyone in the company. The following comparison provides insights into how each geographic group of respondents classify themselves in terms of 3D printing expertise.
- 3D printing power users have significant competitive advantages over their peers in accelerating product development and offering customized products and limited series today through 2020. Power users have a 19% advantage versus their peers in accelerating product development in 2015 (32% versus 51%), and a 15% in 2020 (31% versus 46%). The following graphic compares power users versus peers on 3D printing strategies.
- 50% of 3D printing power users are relying on these technologies, systems and processes to support production today. Power users dominate proof of concept (59%), prototyping (83%), and in the Americas the development of marketing samples (31%). The following graphic compares the total respondent base and power users.
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