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December 10, 2014

Prohibitive start-up costs delay 3D printer adoption

Researchers predict that by 2018, 50% of consumers, heavy industry and life sciences manufacturers will use 3D printing.

By CBR Staff Writer

A survey by Gartner finds that higher acquisition costs are standing in way of the 3D printer adoption, with 60% of those surveyed saying start-up costs are a main factor of delay in implementation.

The survey found that companies are mainly using 3D printing in prototyping, product innovation and development while it is also being used extensively in manufacturing applications.

Gartner research director Pete Basiliere said, "3D printing has broad appeal to a wide range of businesses and early adopter consumers, and while the technology is already in use across a wide range of manufacturing verticals from medical to aerospace, costs remain the primary concern for buyers."

"3D printer vendors must work closely with their clients to identify potential applications of the technology that may have been overlooked, and improve the cost-benefit ratios of their products."

"Organisations that wish to experiment with the technology without incurring start-up costs should consider partnering with a local 3D printing service bureau."

Basiliere added, "The market is emerging from its nascent stage as organisations move beyond design and prototyping applications of 3D printing toward creating short run production quantities of finished products."

The researchers predict that by 2018, 50% of consumers, heavy industry and life sciences manufacturers will use 3D printing to produce parts for the items they consume, sell or service.

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Gartner sampled 330 respondents during the second quarter of this year, who are employed by organisations with at least 100 employees that are using or planning to use 3D printing,

Out of those surveyed, 37% of the companies had just one 3D printer, 18% had 10 or more, while the average number of printers per organisation was 5.4.

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