Low-volume Manufacturing: Mass Customization Markets For The 3d Printing Industry: 2013-to-2022

Report # SMP-3D-LVM-1113
Published November 13, 2013

In this report, SmarTech identifies the opportunities emerging for the 3D printing industry from short-run manufacturing.  Already many rapid prototyping firms have moved in this direction, producing tens, hundreds or even thousands of a particular part or model.

As we see it, 3D printing has a special role to play in the low-volume manufacturing space.  It brings to the table the low unit costs typically associated with mass production while at the same time offering the flexibility of individual customization.  As such, we believe that 3D printing is a unique enabling technology for the “mass customization” meme that is sweeping the product marketing community at the present time.

As SmarTech sees it, mass customization is key to the future of 3D printing and may turn out to be the main market driver for 3D printing once the hype-driven 3D printing boom has died down. 3D printing can already be used cost effectively to produce quite large product volumes.  Hearing aid shells and copings for dental crowns and bridges are testaments to this.  And each of these products must be customized to form fit individual customers.  Meanwhile, Shapeways has built an entire business around the concept of 3D-printed mass customization.

As rapid prototyping businesses expand into low-volume manufacturing, we also expect that the addressable market for these firms will grow by orders of magnitude. In particular, we believe that existing rapid prototyping companies are very well positioned to take advantage of the mass customization trend, because the rapid prototyping sector is where one finds most of the genuine technical expertise in 3D printing at the present time.

But it’s not just the traditional rapid prototyping firms.  Service firms also have an opportunity here.  For example, in the U.K., Sainsburys, a major retailer is planning to provide 3D printing services that will enable customers to customize products that they buy from the store.  As SmarTech sees it, the developments outlined above will also generate new business revenues for 3D printer makers and their value-added resellers.

As with all SmarTech reports this report provides ten-year forecasts of the market opportunities for the 3D printing industry from low-volume, mass customized manufacturing and services; both in volume and value terms, with breakouts by product type and the sector of the 3D printing industry that will benefit from these new business revenues.  The report also contains an analysis of leading firms in this space with an assessment of their strategies.  And it also considers, how best to overcome the considerable quality demands that the transition for low-volume mass-customized will require.

SmarTech believes that this report will be essential reading for marketing, business development and product planning executives throughout the 3D printing community and also in the broader retail and manufacturing sector.  The ultimate goal of this report is to provide strategic guidance to managers in all of the above communities.


Chapter One: Low-Volume Manufacturing Opportunities for 3D Printing

1.1 The Mass-Customization Marketing Meme

1.2 How 3D Printing Enables Mass Customization And Benefits From It

1.3 New Low-Volume Manufacturing Opportunities for the Rapid Prototyping Business

1.4 Analysis of Mass Customization Services Using 3D Printing

1.5 Five 3D Printing Firms With Innovative Mass Customization/Low-Volume Manufacturing Business Models.

1.6 Factors Holding Back 3D Printing-Enabled Mass Customization

Chapter Two: Technology Changes Impacting 3D-Printed, Low-Volume Manufacturing

2.1 Impact of 3D Printing’s Functional Improvements On Rapid Prototyping

2.1.1 Printer Bed Volume Maximum Print Bed Size Has Increased With Other Technology Advances Print Beds Optimize 3D Printer Performance For Specific Industries

2.1.2 Build Speed Pre- and Post-Production Processing are Just as Important to the Overall Build Speed as the Actual Printing Process

2.1.3 Surface Finish

2.1.4 Dimensional Accuracy.

2.1.5 Binding Agents

2.1.6 Pre/Post Processing Processes

2.1.7 3D Printing Materials Support Structures and Materials 3D Printing In Multiple Materials

2.2 Personal 3D Printers: What They Mean For Low-Volume Manufacturing

2.3 New Materials: Implications For Low-Volume Manufacturing

2.4 Critical Software Innovations

2.4.1 Role of Current CAD Solid-Modeling Systems

2.4.2 Co-Creation Software

2.5 Key Points From This Chapter

Chapter Three 3D-Printed, Low-Volume Manufacturing Markets

3.1 Total Market For Low-volume, 3D Printed Products

3.2 Evolution of Rapid Prototyping to Low-Volume Manufacturing

3.3 Industrial Products

3.3.1 A Word About Rapid Prototyping

3.3.2 Applications for 3D Printers In Industry are as Abundant as They are Diverse

3.3.3 Presentation Models and Visual Aids

3.2.4 This Isn’t Your Father's Rapid Prototyping Machine

3.3.5 Material Color Offering Is the Key Driver of the Modeling Sector

3.3.6 Presentation Models Have the Potential for Incorporation Into Many Industries

3.3.7 3D Printed Visual Aids Will Bear Special Importance In Architectural Design

3.3.8 Presentation Models and Visual Aids In 3D Printing Service Bureaus

3.4 Ten-year Forecast of 3D-Printed, Low-Volume Industrial Products

3.5 Consumer Products

3.5.1 Gifts and Novelties

3.5.2 Scaled Models and Figurines

3.5.3 3D Printed Personal Models

3.5.4 Design Elements from Online Service Bureaus

3.5.5 3D Printing Ventures Into Larger Design Elements

3.5.6 Lighting

3.5.7 Jewelry

3.5.8 Smartphone Cases

3.5.9 Spectacle Frames

3.5.10 Other Consumer Products

3.6 Ten-Year Forecast of 3D-Printed, Low-Volume Consumer Products

3.7 Medical Products

3.7.1 Continued Adoption in the Medical Industry Hinge on Standardization and Innovation

3.7.2 Dental Products

3.7.3 Two Large Opportunities In Clear Orthodontic Positioners and Veneers.

3.7.4 Hearing Aids

3.7.5 Other Implants

3.8 Ten-Year Forecast of 3D-Printed, Low-Volume Medical Products

3.9 Key Points From This Chapter.

About SmarTech Markets Publishing

About the Analyst

Acronyms and Abbreviations Used In this Report

List of Exhibits

Exhibit 1-1: Five 3D Printing Firms With Innovative Low Volume, Mass-Customized Manufacturing Business Models

Exhibit 2-1: Recent 3D Technology Innovations That Boast Functional Improvements

Exhibit 2-2: Factors Affecting Dimensional Accuracy

Exhibit 2-3: Recent Innovative Material Developments

Exhibit 2-4: Promising Material Development

Exhibit 3-1: Total Market for 3D Printed Products ($ Millions)

Exhibit 3-2: Benefits/Efficiencies Recognized By 3D Printers In Industry

Exhibit 3-3: Applications for 3D Printing In Industry

Exhibit 3-4: Major Players In Providing Multi-Colored Visual Aids

Exhibit 3-5: Industries for 3D Presentation Models and Visual Aids

Exhibit 3-6: Total Market for 3D Printing In Industry ($ Millions)

Exhibit 3-7: Ten-Year Forecasts for 3D Printed Products for Manufacturing Purposes

Exhibit 3-8: Critical Factors for 3D Printing’s Success In Design Elements

Exhibit 3-9: Forces that May Hinder 3D Printing In Smartphone Covers

Exhibit 3-10: Total Market for 3D Printing in Consumer Products

Exhibit 3-11: Ten-Year Forecasts for 3D Printed Design Element Market

Exhibit 3-12: Ten-Year Forecasts for 3D Printed Models/Figurines Market

Exhibit 3-13: Ten-Year Forecasts for 3D Printed Finished Jewelry Market

Exhibit 3-14: Ten-Year Forecasts For 3D Printed Smartphone Case Market

Exhibit 3-15: Ten-Year Forecasts for 3D Printed Spectacle Frame Market

Exhibit 3-16: Factors That Create Opportunities In The Medical Industry For 3D Printing

Exhibit 3-17: Implants That Are Or Will Be Manufactured By 3D Printers

Exhibit 3-18: Total Market for 3D Printing in Medical/ Dental Products ($ Millions)

Exhibit 3-19: Ten-Year Forecasts for 3D Printed Dental Implant and Dental Prosthetic Market

Exhibit 3-20: Ten-Year Forecasts for 3D Printed Hearing Aid (HA) Market

Exhibit 3-21: Ten-Year Forecasts For 3D Printed Hearing Aids Market (alt. method)

Exhibit 3-22: Ten-Year Forecasts for 3D Printed Orthopedic Prosthetic Market

Exhibit 3-23: Ten-Year Forecasts for 3D Printed Implant Market

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