Industrial additive manufacturing, usually called 3D printing, is predicted to be a highly disruptive force, together with robotics, within the global manufacturing industry, affecting all corners of the supply chain in all industries.
In 2008, the global additive manufacturing market was sized at €900 million or $1.227 billion. By the end of 2013, it reached €2.2 billion or $3 billion. It is projected to reach €4.5 billion or $6.1 billion by 2018, and €7.7 billion or $10.5 billion by 2023, as we can see in the graph below.
Times of rapid changes
This projection is reflected in the market capitalization of companies that work in the area of 3D printing. More and more companies are experiencing a transition from analog to digital manufacturing, recognizing cost savings and design benefits. Additive manufacturing is rapidly replacing traditional manufacturing. This fast transition is pushing traditional manufacturing toward extinction. The sluggishness of traditional manufacturing will also become expensive as ROI and product delivery time are faster in additive manufacturing. Therefore, traditional manufacturing is no longer going to offer advantages to anyone, and it soon will become obsolete.
Leaders in market capitalization
According to Statista, 3D Systems has reached a market capitalization of $6.8 million followed by ExOne, a global provider of 3D printing machines and 3D printed products to industrial customers, which describes itself as a pioneer of non-traditional industrial manufacturing, with a market capitalization of around $609 million. Voxelijet comes in at $537 million and Alphaform at $23 million as of February 2014.
According to a press release, Alphaform reported a revenue increase of around 14.4 percent to Q1 2014 to €7.5 million compared with the same period of previous year. Recently, Barron's published an article titled "3D Printer Stocks Are Suddenly Hot Again" (registration required) highlighting how 3D printing and robotics stocks are gaining momentum.
All this is clear evidence of the great support the additive manufacturing industry is receiving, and, as we have seen through the projection above, it will only increase. Additive manufacturing has started to be considered as the answer to restoring manufacturing in some countries. (See 3D Printing Might Bring Manufacturing Back to Canada.)
Mass production of 3D printed parts in sand, metal, or glass in industrial manufacturing is rapidly replacing traditional manufacturing. The already existing mass production of such parts on demand saves time and money for industrial manufacturers. The benefits of additive manufacturing over traditional manufacturing are too many and too good to be ignored.