Design: Rapid prototyping becoming more affordable

The evolution of 3D printers driven by severe pricing pressures has made concept modeling and rapid prototyping affordable to most end users. With prices of 3D printers ranging from $15,000 to $60,000, small companies are finding them extremely affordable to use for concept modeling and design optimization.

06/26/2007


Palo Alto, CA —The evolution of 3D printers driven by severe pricing pressures has made concept modeling and rapid prototyping affordable to most end users. Undoubtedly, the growing trend toward rapid manufacturing has encouraged changes leading to wider use.

With prices of 3D printers ranging from $15,000 to $60,000, small companies are finding them extremely affordable to use for concept modeling and design optimization. In addition, the use of additive fabrication technology to directly manufacture the product has become increasingly popular, especially for low volume applications. According to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan , rapid manufacturing is expected to become mainstream in the future, and it’s driving the growth of the rapid prototyping equipment market.

Frost & Sullivan’s World Rapid Prototyping Equipment Markets report , reveals that only a handful of companies, about 15% to 20% of the end users worldwide, are taking advantage of the various rapid prototyping technologies today.

Rapid manufacturing is particularly useful when the part complexity is difficult to conceive in traditional manufacturing processes, such as in hearing-aids.

Notes Frost & Sullivan's S.Vidyasankar, senior research analyst, “This clearly demonstrates that the technology’s potential has not reached the end users over the years, and thus highlights the need to elevate their awareness levels.” There is also an increasing interest and growing trend toward services within the rapid prototyping market, say Vidyasankar: “Even though many participants work closely with service bureaus, customers have forced rapid prototyping equipment manufacturers to provide services.”

Adopted early on by the automotive and aerospace markets, rapid prototyping as a market earned revenues of $300.0 million in 2006 and is estimated to reach $859.4 million in 2013.

Edited by Renee Robbins , editorial director, Weekly News
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