The 3D printing market grows at a compound annual rate of 23 percent from 2013 to 2020, reaching $8.4 billion.*
Developments in “additive” manufacturing, or 3D-printing, spur a second industrial revolution. Falling prices for 3D printers, coupled with growing expertise and new applications, increase the demand for and availability of this technology. Goods become significantly cheaper, high customization becomes the norm and labor costs fall dramatically — factors that begin to reverse the trend of outsourcing to Asia. The DIY nature of 3D printing gives rise to increased intellectual property theft; by 2018, 3D printing may result in global IP losses of at least $100 billion annually. “Bio-printing,” the use of 3D printers to produce human tissues and even organs, becomes feasible.
Additive manufacturing in 2020:
- Mass customization and personalization of consumer goods becomes a reality with 3D printed toys, shoes, cosmetics and even food products like chocolates and meats that have “print at home” purchase options.
- 3D concrete printing transforms architecture, with the possibility of 3D printed concrete structure and buildings.
- 4D printing produces responsive or “smart” objects that self-assemble or shape-shift when exposed to different stimuli.
- 3D printing minibuilders combines robotics and additive manufacturing; the process involves fully mobile robots lay down layers of material one at a time and work together to construct objects of virtually any size. These ‘minibuilders’ are under development at the institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) based in Barcelona.