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3D Printing: The Near Future & Market Opportunities Explored

The 3D printing process was invented by Chuck Hill in 1983, named, as ‘stereolithography’ as a technique for constructing solid entities by sequentially printing thin films of ultraviolet material over one another. This technique laid the foundation of present scenario of 3D printing. The modern definition of 3D printing can be defined as an additive engineering process to generate a physical entity from a digital source or design. Today, there are various 3D technologies and material available in the market, but all follow the same standardised procedure: a solid material from a digital design by adding consecutive layers. A typical 3D printing initiated with a forming of digitalized design file of a physical entity. The next step varies with technology and material used, commencing from system printers to melt the material and place it down onto printing platform. The time is highly dependent on the printing size, and often post-processing events. The common printing techniques include fused deposition modelling, stereolithography, digital light processing, selective laser sintering, polyjet and multijet modelling, binder jetting, and metal printing (selective laser melting and electron beam melting). The materials for printing varies by printing options, ranging from rubber, plastics (polyamide, ABS, PLA, and LayWood), ceramics, biomaterials, sandstone, metals and alloys (titanium, aluminium, steel, cobalt-chrome and nickel).

The 3D printer is advantageous as they offer construction of complex designs which cannot be produced by traditional methods, customization of products with no supplementary detailing or tooling, and no additional pricing, and creating a hope for entrepreneurs or designers in cost effective production for market testing or other needs. In addition, the traditional methods for manufacturing an entity generate a huge amount of waste of raw materials, for instance, bracket manufacturing lavish nearly 90% of the raw material. On the other hand, 3D printing manufacturing process involve minimal wastage of material and can be recycled in the next cycle.

However, the concept of 3D modelling often associated with drawbacks such as high cost of large production, restricted strength and durability, and lower quality resolution. Moreover, there are more than 500 3D printing materials available in the market, most are made from plastics and metals. However, owing to rapid technological advancement, the number of materials is increasing briskly comprising wood, composites, meat, chocolates, and so on.

As exemplified by public sources, by 2027, one tenth of world’s production will be 3D printed. Consequently, the cost of printers will drop from $18,000 USD to $400 USD in upcoming 10 years. Therefore, various companies have started their 3D printed production such as dominating shoe companies as well as in aircraft constructions. Evolving technology will create a scenario where smartphones were fortified with scanner allowing to build anything at home, for instance, China has created a complete 6-story building by using 3D printing technology.

The 3D printing has diverse applications in the fields of medical, manufacturing, sociocultural, and industrial. Based on manufacturing applications, the field is divided into agile tooling, food, research, prototyping, cloud-based additives, and mass customization. Based on medical application, the field is distributed into bio-printing devices and medicines. For instance, in August 2015, 3D printed surgical bolt device, named, ‘FastForward Bone Tether Plate’ was approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of bunion. In addition, in May 2017, the researcher of Max Plank Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany developed a micro-machine, named, microswimmers, by using 3D printer technology of Nanoscribe GmBH, for precisely delivering drugs to the site of infection and can be controlled inside the body. Various industries have adopted 3D printing technology for manufacturing their products. For instance, Airbus SAS, France declared that its product, Airbus A350 XWB contains more than 100 3D printed components. The astronautical industries have developed a 3D printer through the collaboration of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and Made In Space, Inc. for printing in zero gravity.

It’s Market

The Global 3D Printing Market is projected to reach by 2022 is USD X.X, from X.X in 2015 at a CAGR of X.X% from 2016 to 2022 as per the latest updated report available at DecisionDatabases.com. The market is segmented on basis of printer type, material type, material form, software, service, technology, process, vertical, application, and geography.

Based on printer type, the market is segmented on the basis of desktop 3D printers and industrial printers. Based on the material type, the market is segmented as plastics, metals, ceramics, and other (wax, laywood, paper, biomaterials). Based on material form, the market is segmented on the basis of filament, powder, and liquid. Based on software the market is segmented on the basis of design software, inspection software, printer software, and scanning software. Based on technology the market is segmented on the basis of stereolithography, fused deposition modelling, selective laser sintering, direct metal laser sintering, polyjet printing, inkjet printing, electron beam melting, laser metal deposition, digital light processing, and laminated object manufacturing. Based on the process the market is segmented on the basis of binder jetting, direct energy deposition, material extrusion, material jetting, powder bed fusion, vat photopolymerization, and sheet lamination. Based on vertical the market is segmented on the basis of automotive, healthcare, architecture & construction, consumer products, education, industrial, energy, printed electronics, jewellery, food & culinary, aerospace & defence, and others. Based on the application the market is segmented on the basis of prototyping, tooling, and functional parts.

By geography, the market is segmented on the basis of North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Middle-East and Africa

The factors such as high investments in Research and development (R&D), low wastage of raw material, and ease of constructing tailored products propel the growth of the market. However, the factor such as restricted availability of printer, high pricing of materials, and the dearth of skilled professionals impede the market growth.

Education & Technology – Then and Now

If anyone ever wants to know whether education technology, specifically video, works in the classroom, all one has to utter in response is: “Conjunction junction, what’s your function?” or “I’m just a bill on Capitol Hill.” It’s unlikely you’ll find anyone born after 1955 that doesn’t remember at least a concept or two from the Schoolhouse Rock series that was originally produced between 1973 and 1986.

We’ve all had the experience when we hear a familiar song and immediately recall a moment from our past connected to the song. It was proven long ago, and Schoolhouse Rock is an additional testament to the fact, that when both audio and visual elements are added to educational concepts, students are engaged at a deeper level and more likely to retain that information.

In the words of Hannah, a child interviewed during a research project on how video enhances learning, “A lot of us watch TV, and we remember TV,” she said. “When the teacher tells us to read directions in a book or when she’s trying to explain things, I don’t always understand. But when she shows us, I understand it more.”

The practice of using education technology and enhancing curriculum with audio-visual elements grew rapidly during the last half of the 20th century. In the last ten years or so, however, the technology explosion has produced enhancements in communication, entertainment, and information retrieval and has sent children’s education in different directions.

In light of this, does video still have a place as part of our education technology tool set? Of course! A good educational video, whether delivered via VHS, DVD, or from a website, when used appropriately in the curriculum, still provides the following benefits:

o Appeals to Multiple Learning Styles – Different videos can explain a single concept in completely different ways which increases the likelihood of the student learning what is being taught.

o Appeals to Multiple Teaching Styles – The use of videos as part of education technology allows teachers a variety of ways to cover the curriculum.

o Connects Concepts to Applications – Teachers can use situations portrayed in the video to inspire students to come up with their own examples of the concept being taught.

o Students Gain Deeper Understanding – Students having difficulty with a particular concept can repeat viewing a video, by themselves, at their own pace, until they develop the necessary understanding.

o Attention Leads to Retention – Attentiveness increases when students are presented with concrete, visual images that are fast-paced and interesting. Naturally attentive students become more knowledgeable and perform better on assessments.

A year after the research project involving Hannah, she could still remember the concepts taught through video and the teachers were convinced student performance had improved. And, if you can remember even one of the concepts taught by Schoolhouse Rock, the case for using video is made.