3D printing is moving from the stuff of our favorite science fiction films to a familiar, mainstream technology. Although many of today's 3D printing applications are remote from the electronics industry, a growing number of them are likely to become popular options in the electronics supply chain.
Today, 3D printing applications in the electronics industry range from vehicles to prototypes. The market, by all estimates, will be substantial. In fact, " Wohlers Report 2014," published earlier this month, puts the total market for 3D printing, consisting of all products and services worldwide, at $3.07 billion last year, which represented a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.9%.
"The industry is experiencing change that we have not seen in 20-plus years of tracking it," said Tim Caffrey, senior consultant at Wohlers Associates and one of two principal authors of the new report. "What's most exciting is that we have barely scratched the surface of what's possible."
The infographic below traces the breadth of 3D printing. Let us know your thoughts on how the development of 3D printing will affect the electronics industry and its supply chain in the comments section below.
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN