Despite a slump in the broader 3D printing space, industrial 3D printing continues to grow, with startups focusing on everything from creating advanced composite materials to processing printed products.
Industrial markets offer some of the most promising applications for 3D printing technology.
Despite a broader investment slowdown across the space, 3D printed parts continue to make their way into working use on airplanes, cars, oil & gas equipment, and other industrial machinery — all with the potential to reduce costs, increase performance, and shrink supply chains.
Companies such as GE, Airbus, and Royal Dutch Shell serve as early adopters, end-users, and investors in 3D printing technology. GE, for example, is currently printing a jet-engine fuel nozzle for the CFM LEAP jet engine. The company also employs 1,000 material scientists in its GE Additive division.
And while big companies drive most of the adoption of industrial 3D printing, startups have also come up with some of the most important innovations in the space.
For example, stereolithography (a key method used in 3D printing) was pioneered in the 1980s by former startup 3D Systems, which is now a large public company. The next big advance in 3D printing could also emerge from a small, innovative startup.
We used the CB Insights database to identify over 40 venture-backed industrial 3D printing startups that are transforming the space.