In its most recent report, Market Intelligence Company CONTEXT shared how “strong interest and pent-up demand” would be the driving force behind an expected post-pandemic increase in 3D printer shipments in 2021. A year of declining sales for certain classes of 3D printing hardware follows as regional quarantines took their toll on the industry during the height of the pandemic.
Before these disruptions, however, sales of hardware for additive manufacturing had continued to grow, and sales of metal technologies had increased sharply in recent years. Here, CONTEXT takes a look at the history of 3D printer shipments over the past three decades and focuses on the 15 most important processes and materials on a quarterly basis.
CONTEXT said, “The 3D printer market * is often viewed as a single cohesive unit. However, the reality is different from what you will see from this unique overall view of industry trends over the past three decades.
ASTM International defines seven core types of machines for additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printers). Even within these types there are various manufacturer-specific variants, some of which can process a number of materials. In terms of sales, machines that print polymers (plastics) are the most popular, followed by those that print metals.
Printer hardware prices range from a few hundred to millions of dollars. You can also find a wide variety of sizes – some as small as a PC inkjet printer, others as big as a warehouse.
The aggregated analysis shown here includes all of these printer types sorted by new units per quarter multiplied by their system price (also known as system revenue). With this measure, the increase in sales of metal 3D printers over the past ten years is immediately noticeable. “
* Includes periodic, non-cumulative, worldwide deliveries of new, finished printers in all four CONTEXT price categories; PERSONAL (<$ 2.5K), PROFESSIONAL ($ 2.5K - $ 20,000), DESIGN ($ 20,000 - $ 100,000), and INDUSTRIAL ($ 100,000 +). Personal DIY kits not included.
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