With technological advancements transforming the consumer goods market, 3D printing (3DP) is set to deliver high impact in the near future. Industries such as consumer electronics, automotive, aerospace and manufacturing are looking toward 3DP for prototyping and production applications. While factors such as mass customization, digitization of manufacturing value chain, lean manufacturing, and customer response are augmenting growth, challenges still exist in the variation in material selection, post-processing needs, intellectual property right infringement and economies of scale.
Frost & Sullivan's TechVision analysis, Disruptive Manufacturing Consumer Goods, discusses the impact of 3D printing on the consumer goods manufacturing industry. Application sectors assessed include apparel, food and beverages, consumer electronics, entertainment and accessories. Factors influencing development and adoption, patent trends, technology prospects, regional trends and developments, and profiles of innovators are provided.
"The ability to efficiently use resources without the need for additional secondary processing stages and providing on-demand products that are highly customized will enhance the growth opportunities of advanced manufacturing technologies such as 3DP in the consumer goods sector," said Frost & Sullivan TechVision Research Analyst Ranjana Lakshmi Venkatesh Kumar.
Regional technology and adoption trends include:
- North America: Growth in 3DP technology, funding interest by major venture capitalists, government grants and funding for universities to encourage innovation, and companies seeking ways to develop small, user-friendly devices that are sleek and high speed, with easy-to-use design software;
- Europe: Industrial research and development focus, developing business models to meet technology needs, addressing environmental needs to ensure a safe work space, creating user-friendly machines, and market expansion plans; and
- Asia-Pacific: 3DP having a high impact on toys and personal care market, funding toward further technology development, and focus on lean manufacturing to reduce waste and costs.
"In a highly fragmented market, it is beneficial if players join forces to capture market share. Through this mode of co-opetition, the incumbent can have successful sales as well as create a positive brand image," noted Kumar. "In addition, collaboration among manufacturers, research institutions, and universities will ensure players gain a competitive advantage."