According to market research firm SmarTech Analysis, 2022 was a strong year for additive manufacturing. Even in the face of uncertain economic conditions, the growth rate for all 3D printing hardware, materials, software and services is estimated at 23% (to $13.5 billion) in 2022 compared to 2021.
Beyond the annual data, the report also provides numbers for Q4 2022. The fourth quarter saw the lowest year over year growth of any quarter of 2022, but still managed over 16 percent total growth over the same period in 2021.
Scott Dunham, SmarTech Analysis EVP Research, commented, “Additive isn’t entirely immune from the global economic and geopolitical problems, but if there’s anything we’ve learned over the last three years, it’s that instability is generally a driver in adoption of flexible advanced manufacturing innovations. There are mixed outlooks all over different sectors of the additive market for 2023, but as usual, when taken as a whole, the expectation is that the growth will certainly still be there. There are many things to be excited about in the additive industry over the next three years.”
The additive market in 2022 could be characterized by any number of trends. From the perspective of production applications and utilization of the processes of today, one of the drivers of the technology over the last year (and likely the coming few years as well) has been the leveraging of metal AM to support what SmarTech refers to as ‘super applications.’ These are informally defined as large to very large metal parts of very high value, which generally couldn’t be produced in any other method, where the part cost per part is of secondary concern to factors such as performance and logistical ease of procurement.
Since 2020, use of AM in the medical sector has not been the significant driving force of the overall industry’s development that it had been prior. Attention has shifted more towards defense and aerospace opportunities, whereas medical implants is an area that is reaching maturity. Increasingly mature application areas such as this provide the backbone for continued R&D and become especially important in periods where investment into AM development is less desirable by financial markets due to challenging economic conditions.
Find out more about SmarTech Analysis at smartechanalysis.com.
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