Startups and industrial OEMs have made steady progress pushing 3D printing innovation forward, as VC funding and public interest have fluctuated.
Over the past 30 years, 3D printing has gone from a marginal industrial tool and hobbyist technology to an ecosystem of software, machinery, and processes on the cusp of significantly reshaping the global economy.
In mid-2017, the Dutch bank ING published a report predicting that 3D printing could cut global trade by 25% by 2060. By printing goods locally, the thinking goes, global trade in automobile parts, medical goods, toys, and a wide variety of other goods will fall. 3D printing’s global economic impact is tiny today, but the technology will have wide-ranging effects on how goods are manufactured and consumed.
That said, 3D printing faces a variety of technical and market barriers to its development. In this post, we use CB Insights data to provide a snapshot of the state of industrial 3D printing software, machinery, process technology development, and challenges to widespread adoption.