Friday, 11 March 2016 12:23

3D printing set for massive boom in Asia Pacific

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3D printing spending in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia, is predicted to grow by 23% annually from $1.5 billion now to $4.3 billion by 2019, although actual usage of 3D printers is lagging, according to a new report from IDC.

IDC says 3D printing research reveals that the APAC region, excluding Japan, holds the majority share of hardware spending in revenue compared to the Americas – but the usage of these 3D printers is smaller than the US, Canada and Latin America combined.

“Companies in this region have the capital to invest in 3D printers but have yet to fully utilise the printers to the point of continuous use for production indicating a relatively lower print volume. IDC expect to see stronger growth in the coming years as organizations explore the use of 3D printers unique to their markets,” said Rachel Selvaranee, Market Analyst of IDC’s Imaging, Printing and Document Solutions research.

IDC’s spending guide explores the adoption of 3D printing based on used cases across several industries and reveals that discrete manufacturing is the leading vertical market for 3D printing in APeJ in 2015, accounting for more than 60% of the total market and expected to post a 15% CAGR from 2015 to 2019.

And, according to IDC, aerospace and defence leads in terms of IT spending in 2015, accounting for more than 20% of the total Asia Pacific 3D spending – and, with a booming aviation industry in Asia Pacific led by China and Singapore, 3D printing spending is expected to hit close to $550 million by 2019 as 3D printing facilities ramp up production capacity.

Over the 5 year forecast, IDC says it we anticipates the tools and components application of 3D printing to climb up to a 23% share of overall AP 3D IT spending pie by 2019 - the market for this segment is visible in countries such as Australia, where 3D printing service solution now caters to the needs of end-users who have no plans in investing in an in-house 3D printing facility.

According to IDC, the application of 3D spending in the dental sector is another key growth market in the region, with CAGR growth forecast of 26% by 2019.

"We are witnessing the growth of commercial 3D printing facilities catered to dental and medical sectors in Asia to cater to the demands of the overseas markets. The healthcare market will witness rapid growth in the future stemming from greater application discovery in the healthcare industry,” Selvaranee said.

"Supportive government policies and research funding from countries like Singapore, China, Korea, Taiwan and Australia are the backbone of the exploration 3D printing in Asia. With this support, 3D printing will fuel growth for innovation in steering the region to increased efficiency and productivity gains."

IDC says that China will continue to be the frontrunner in 3D printing in the region arising from the growing support of the Chinese government's "Made in China 2025" initiative as part of the country’s 15th 5-Year industrial transformation plan to promote hi-tech manufacturing in key sectors such as aerospace, aviation and automotive industries - as well as educating the next generation of workforce to be equipped with the knowledge of 3D printing technology though the implementation of 3D printers in schools.

"From aerospace manufacturing mainstream to the unprecedented presence in almost all industries, 3D printing is shaping up as smart solution to improve production quality, accuracy and speed. Our research suggests the 3D printing technology foot prints are now perceptible in retail and food processing industries," concluded Rubal Sabharwal,  Manager, IDC Consumer Insights and Analysis Group.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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