3D Printing Plastic Market size is forecast to reach $1,598 million by 2026, after growing at a CAGR of 17.1% during 2021-2026. Globally, the demand for 3D printing plastic is rising from various application sectors such as aerospace and defense, electrical and electronics, and healthcare, by reducing the efforts, time, and costs incurred in the project. The increasing use of photopolymers and polyamide (nylon) materials in 3D printing owing to its alluring properties is estimated to drive the 3D printing plastics market growth. Furthermore, the development of innovative, stronger, lighter, and safer components and parts with lower lead times and costs is anticipated to create new opportunities for the growth of the global 3D printing plastic industry in the forecast period.
The rise in positive COVID-19 cases worldwide generated a huge demand for the 3D printing plastics market from the healthcare sector. The market for medical components such as face shields, masks, ventilator vales, and others has seen an upsurge since the outbreak of COVID-19. Owing to the COVID-19 palindrome the increasing demand of medical components from across the globe, has also increased the demand for 3D printing adoption in various regions.
3D Printing Plastic Market Segment Analysis – By Form
Filament form is widely used in the 3D printing plastic market. They are only manufactured and consumed in two diameters, namely 1.75 mm and 3 mm. By using the process of heating, extruding and cooling plastic, filament form is produced to turn nurdles into finished product. Thus, it is possible to dye these filaments in various colours. Also, due to their flexible properties there is an increase in demand from several application industries such as food packaging, tableware, upholstery, and disposable clothing.
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3D Printing Plastic Market Segment Analysis – By Type
Polyamide/Nylon segment held the largest share in the 3D printing plastic market in 2020. Nylon (known as polyamide) is a synthetic linear polyamide thermoplastic and is a well-known 3D printing filament owing to its stability, toughness, low friction and corrosion resistance. Nylon is also a common substance used in the manufacture of clothing and accessories. Due to its improved strength and elasticity over PLA and ABS, Nylon is ideal for manufacturing uses, such as machine parts or equipment, or the replacement of automotive parts. As compared to ABS and PLA Nylon is tougher and more resistant to chemicals, but its poor strength and hardness prohibits it from being commonly used in the manufacturing industry. With the increasing demand for nylon the market for 3D printing plastic is also estimated to rise in the forecast period.
3D Printing Plastic Market Segment Analysis – By Application
Prototyping segment held the largest share in the 3D printing plastic market in 2020 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 16.9% during the forecast period 2021-2026. Creating a concept can be a costly and slow process. Fortunately, certain methods are available to help you enhance the product creation process, helping to make high-quality prototypes at a cheaper cost. From office to the factory floor, 3D printers produce plastic concept models, precision and practical prototypes, master patterns and actual end-use components for refining every project, streamlining the workflows and getting creative products to the market quicker. Besides, 3D printing plastic is the best solution for designing the prototypes. By beginning to create the 3D printing project, one will have access to a wide variety of efficient 3D printing supplies, saving time and resources. Thus, rising usage of 3D printing plastic for prototyping applications is set to drive the market growth over the forecast period.
3D Printing Plastic Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
North America held the largest share with 45% in 3D printing plastic market in 2020. Due to the increasing demand for 3D printing plastics in medical devices and equipment, and the increasing adoption of 3D printing technology in U.S., Canada, Mexico and various other countries in the region is set to drive the market growth in the upcoming future. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget represents the responsibilities of the U.S. government to advance a patient-centered healthcare system. The budget proposes a discretionary budget authority of $94.5 billion and mandatory support for Health and Human Services of $1.3 trillion. Thus, the rising investments by the government in the healthcare sector are estimated to boost the 3D printing plastic market growth in the forecast period.
3D Printing Plastic Market Drivers
Rising Demand for 3D Printing Plastic from the Healthcare Industry
Rising usage of 3D printing plastic in the healthcare sector is driving the market growth. Key factors driving demand in the medical industry for 3D printing plastics include cost-effectiveness, ease of customization, as well as the rising occurrence of vascular and osteoarthritis diseases. Polyamide or nylon is often used for injection molding in medical device owing to its inflexible nature, strength, chemical compatibility, and temperature resilience. Increasing use of photopolymers for high-resolution, ultra-fine parts in medical devices will also drive the market growth. Moreover, the market demand in medical applications is expected to be fueled by advanced 3D technology, favorable government funding, and rapid product growth. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, the government of India aims to increase the healthcare spending to 3% of the GDP by 2022, which means the healthcare sector will rise three-fold to Rs. 8.6 trillion (US$ 133.44 billion). Hence, the growing demand for 3D printing plastic from the healthcare sector will raise the growth for 3D printing plastic market in the forecast period.
Increasing Demand for Biodegradable Materials for 3D printing
The growing need for the “green” alternative to traditional polymers has propelled the demand for polylactic acid in the 3D printing plastic industry. Since, polylactic acid is very inexpensive, easy to print, and produces components that can be used for a wide variety of applications, it is the ideal first material to be used in 3D printing. It is also one of the most environmental friendly products made from crops such as corn and cane that are used today. This material is thermoplastic aliphatic polyester and is the predominant natural raw material that consists of recycled raw materials used in 3D printing plastics. For most extrusion-based 3D printing, polylactic acid is also the default filament of choice, since it can be printed at low temperatures and does not require a heated bed. Thus, with the rising demand for biodegradable materials the growth for 3D printing plastics market is estimated to rise in the forecast period.
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3D Printing Plastic Market Challenges
Environmental Issues Regarding 3D Printing Plastic Materials will Hamper the Market Growth
Over the last few years, one environmental issue has gradually stolen the spotlight that is plastic pollution. The reliance on plastics-especially single-use plastics-is now one of the world’s leading environmental concerns. 3D printing uses the flexible, durable design of plastics in a wide variety of applications, from aerospace to healthcare. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is one of the most common filaments used in plastics such as bottles of disposable beverages and food packaging. Other filaments include polycarbonate and ABS: both are relatively inexpensive, flexible and easy to manufacture. Unfortunately, these materials are not commonly recyclable and so any waste generated in the printing process would find its way to the landfill or to the natural environment. Thus, rising environmental concerns due to the use of various 3D printing plastics is estimated to hinder the 3D printing plastics market growth.
3D Printing Plastic Market Outlook
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the 3D printing plastic market. Major players in the 3D printing plastic market are 3D Systems Corporation, Arkema SA, Stratasys, Ltd., BASF SE, Evonik Industries AG, HP Inc., SABIC, DowDuPont Inc., EOS GmbH Electro Optical Systems, and Royal DSM N.V., among others.
In January 2021, Stratasys, Ltd. company acquired Origin, to ortify its leadership position as the first choice for polymer 3D printing.
In October 2019, Lancashire3D, a UK-based 3D printing service bureau, has launched its Sustainable Range of materials for producing 3D printed items.
The rising demand for laser sintering technology by engineers and manufacturers in various commercial sectors will increase the demand for polyamide (nylon), which is further expected to drive the 3D printing plastic industry growth.
Owing to the ability of the plastic being shaped easily, they are used in the initial stages of the onset of 3D printers. Very recently, NASA has been using space-based 3D printers with plastic as the key material for space-based objects.
Also, the rise of the automobile industry is set to hold the market for 3D printing plastics at its height in the years to come. Quick advances in diverse materials and technology are allowing the industry to gain momentum.
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