IDC Manufacturing Insights attended the third annual 3D Printing - Trends, Experience and Business Opportunities conference, part of the International Engineering Fair in Brno, Czech Republic, in September 2014. IDC's research shows that this unique technology has been attracting the attention of both enterprises and consumers in recent years, leading HP to announce a big step into the market in October with its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer. The vendor has announced that its goal is to "change entire industries" with this device. These market developments made us write a report The Rise of 3D Printing in CEMA: Moving Beyond the Technology Hype in Manufacturing (#CEMA21793). It highlights the most valuable observations from a one-day visit to the 3D printing event, provides an additional overview of current 3D printing usage by CEMA manufacturers and concludes with key takeaways for the use of this technology.
This year, the conference focused on presenting 3D printing success stories, sharing user experiences, and showing the real benefits of this industry-changing technology. Automotive and other engineering manufacturing companies took center stage with their 3D printing applications. Although many of their showcases were inspiring, we leveraged our 2014 IDC Manufacturing Insights' survey data and found a clear imbalance between what was on show and real-world adoption levels by CEMA manufacturers. According to our survey data, engineering-oriented manufacturing companies are falling behind when it comes to current usage of 3D printing: only 5% of manufacturers reported using the technology. This is below the CEMA manufacturing sector average of 10%, and even farther off the usage levels of asset- and technology-oriented value chains. Interestingly, manufacturers in CEE and MEA reported different primary uses of the technology, with the former citing prototype part production and the latter using 3D printing as part of the production process.
Usage of 3D Printing by Purpose
Q: Where do you use most of the 3D printing/additive technologies?
Note: Base = 3D printing users; N = 18 (CEE), 20 (MEA)
Source: IDC CEMA, Manufacturing Insight Survey, June 2014
The 3D technology boom is now expanding into other verticals, where its function diversifies accordingly, but manufacturers are expected to remain among the heaviest users of 3D printing. In fact, many new 3D print applications will emerge in the sector in the near future, as the technology quickly finds a place among mainstream technologies used in developed manufacturing markets. Leading CEMA manufacturers will need to find the most effective way to employ 3D printing in their organizations. The sooner they do so, the sooner they will discover how 3D printers can help with (among other things) increased demand for customized products without the costly, time-consuming customization processes of the past.
The global 3D printing market is becoming concentrated, with increased mergers and acquisitions, suggesting that the market is moving beyond the hype stage; and as the customer base expands, this technology will attract the interest of large 2D printer vendors. Prices are decreasing, printing speeds are improving, and printing materials are becoming more readily available. With major vendors such as HP entering the scene, development and usability are likely to increase tremendously in the coming years, which will further boost the productivity of users of 3D print technology.
IDC Manufacturing Insights believes these recent developments should serve as a wake-up call for CEMA manufacturers. "The initial steps are to investigate the applicability of 3D printing for current and future usage, and to evaluate the available vendors. The decision on direct investment comes later," says Zdenek Krouzel, research analyst with IDC's Imaging Devices & Document Solutions team.
Co-authored by Zdenek Krouzel, Research Analyst, Imaging Devices & Document Solutions, Central and Eastern Europe