IDTechEx says additive market to grow 10-fold by 2031

Markforged to launch FX20 printer for new composite applications

IDTechEx to grow 10-fold market more by 2031
IDTechEx to grow 10-fold market more by 2031

Additive manufacturing of composites is approaching an inflection point. There are many printer manufacturers, market launches, more funding, notable partnerships, and, importantly, demonstrable value-add with a wide range of success stories.   

IDTechEx to show significant growth by 2031

In their new report “3D Printing Composites 2021-2031: Technology and Market Analysis,” IDTechEx forecast the market to reach US$ 2 billion by 2031. Although this may not appear like the most considerable number, this represents significant growth from the current market size; a more remarkable than a 9-fold increase from the calculated 2021 revenue for the most mature extrusion/placement technology is expected.

Michael Papish from Markforged stated to IDTechEx, “Advanced composite materials open up new ways to create lighter, stronger parts with less waste in a fraction of the time of traditional manufacturing methods, making them a critical part of an additive manufacturing strategy. We’ve seen demand for new composites and methods grow; in response to customer needs, we’ll launch the FX20 printer later this year, the biggest, fastest, and most sophisticated printer we’ve ever developed, which will open up new composite applications in aerospace, defense, automotive and oil and gas.”

“Over the next ten years, the global additive market is projected to grow 10x, and we believe advanced composite printers and materials will play a key role as manufacturers look for new ways to overcome their supply chain challenges.”

Numerous reasons for significant growth

  • Technology maturity  This industry has benefited from the development of 3D printing polymers and metals. Still, there are special considerations from the print head through to the software that had to be further developed to utilize the anisotropic properties from the fibers fully.
  • Application maturity It takes time for end-users to find the value-add applications and prove out the technology. This has now happened for numerous sectors, with benefits ranging from lightweight to reducing inventory costs or downtime with replacement tools, jigs, or fixtures. The applications will not be the high-volume end-use parts that grab headlines and that many initially aspire to. However, tooling, key roles on the manufacturing floor, and low-mid volume part production are still very profitable fields. 
  • Supply chain maturity  This is often a challenge for a young industry. Still, the market has seen key partnerships from material manufacturers to distributors that have helped remove this pain point.

Given this, it is unsurprising that the funding, market launches, and new entrants have dramatically increased in recent years. This competition is healthy, a rising tide lifts all boats, and there are different business models; the only issue may be in IP lawsuits that could slow this growth. There is a significant amount of capital investment in this field, and with that, IDTechEx is anticipating some M&A activity and, in the longer term, consolidation in the number of players.

The technology progression is also a long way from being complete. There are numerous innovations, with some of the most exciting associated with the progression of thermoset resins that will come to market over the decade. Then there is the development of automation within composite manufacturing in general, from simple pick-and-place robots to rapid performing.


2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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