Sculpteo has revealed the results of its first report on ‘The State of 3D Printing’. The study, which surveyed over 1,100 people in regards to 3D printing practices, challenges and priorities, details trends for 2015, geographical insights and a practical look at 3D printing strategy.
"The goal of our ‘State of 3D printing’ report is simple," the report explains. "We wanted to group together the biggest possible set of data on users of 3D printing. With more than a thousand engineers, CEOs, designers, educators, marketers, buyers and hobbyists who responded, we managed to put together a sample that we think is representative of behaviour in the world of additive manufacturing."
The report reveals that spending in 3D printing is set to increase rapidly this year with 68% of respondents claiming they will increase their spending on additive manufacturing and 44% of those saying they intend to do so by at least 50%.
Determining factors in the adoption of 3D printing.
The study also examines what factors are responsible for the adoption of 3D printing. Material supply cost was one of the biggest factors along with machine consistently and capabilities. Factors such as legal frameworks and training were considered less important with less than 30% of respondents identifying them as defining factors.
Demonstrating a universal confidence in the industry, 91% of respondents are convinced that the 3D printing market will increase over the next few years and 58% of those cited new materials, price drops and increased efficiency as key factors for enabling growth.
Looking at geographical insights, the survey shows suggests that there is a significant difference in perspectives on 3D printing in Europe and the U.S. Whilst Europe sees 3D printing as the defined domain of trained specialists, users in America see is as a tool that can be used for everything and accessible to all within a company. The reports shows that there is a higher level of optimism in the American market whereas European users are more concerned with tackling the barriers to entry and opposing factors.
Top priorities related to 3D printing.
Prototyping and 'proof of concept' remain at the top of the list for the main uses of 3D printing with production recognised by just 27% of respondents as a fruitful use. Another comparison between Europe and the U.S. shows that open source users in the U.S. are interested in the possibility of modification of 3D models but the challenge to buy a 3D printer was named as the third biggest problem for the region. In Europe, the conversation is more about issues related to 3D printing along with custom products and flexibility.
The report also offers insights into developing 3D printing strategy by highlighting the key questions businesses need to ask when implementing the technology. The top priority shown here was the ability for 3D printing to accelerate product development.
For more insights into the state of the 3D printing industry, read the report in full here.