3D printing is expected to become mainstream in the Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) region in 2018, according to IDC FutureScape: Worldwide 3D Printing Predictions - APeJ Implication.
"The expiration of several key 3D printing patents in recent years has led to technological advancements. Applications for 3D printing will eventually extend beyond rapid prototyping in manufacturing and healthcare especially. Consumers are now more educated and will seek benefits of incorporating 3D printing into different areas," said Mun Chun Lim, Market Analyst of Imaging, Printing and Document Solutions Research at IDC Asia/Pacific, in a press release.
According to IDC, 3D printing will be a mainstream market due to new participation from large and established document printing, contract manufacturing, and electronic vendors. This will be the result of supportive government policies and continuous drive from countries like China, India, and South Korea.
Lim explained: "China will continue to be the frontrunner in 3D printing in the region. Manufacturers seeking ways of reducing dependency on traditional labour intensive processes in manufacturing will eventually see 3D printing play a major role in coming years and eventually become mainstream. Print service providers will continue to emerge and play an important role in the market offering complete 3D printing solutions and serving as a platform to pave the way for the exposure and adoption of 3D printing."
Interestingly, IDC predicted that there will 30 percent fewer 3D printer companies in the market in 2018 than there is today due to the increasing number of merger and acquisition activities in the region. "Consolidation is a good sign that an industry is maturing, established companies will continuously adopt new technologies by acquiring specialized and potential company in the market to provide differentiation and value proposition to the market," says Lim.
Lastly, IDC forecast that the use of 3D printing to customise exoskeletons will transition from research to commercial industries by 2018. "High cost involvement, homogenous design and high recurring maintenance cost have seen low penetration of traditional functional exoskeletons in this region. But with 3D printing, it has enabled a new dimension on producing affordable, functional, customisable prosthetic hand and arms as compared to the traditional way of produce," said Lim.
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