The 3D printing market has hit its stride.
According to a newly released report from the International Data Corp. (IDC), the U.S. market saw a 20 percent increase in 3D printer shipments in 2015, compared to 2014. But Tim Greene, who leads the IDC's research efforts in large-format printing, says that growth is just the beginning.
“Printer hardware revenue combined with the expansion of 3D printing services and the consumption of materials already represent a $2.5 billion market in the U.S. in 2015, and that is expected to grow at a rate of more than 20 percent through 2020,” he says in an IDC statement.
A Campus Tech summary of the report explains how colleges and universities fit into the four-year market outlook:
In the education segment specifically, IDC forecasts that 3D printing spending, which includes printers, as well as materials and software, will grow from around $200 million this year to more than $500 million in 2019.
"Printers themselves will represent only a small portion of this spend, as material spending is by far the leading cost associated with 3D printing (or any printing, for that matter)," noted IDC Research Vice President Christopher Chute. He added that IDC expects widespread adoption in "technical colleges and universities with strong science and engineering programs, which service a large student population."
Higher education’s growing focus on 3D printing reflects changes in the manufacturing industry, where the technology is reshaping business.
“People and companies that are adopting 3D printers are routinely realizing tremendous time and cost savings in their product creation and development cycles,” Greene says in the IDC statement. “As printer speeds increase and the range of materials expands, a growing number of products and parts, and therefore markets, will be impacted by 3D printing/additive manufacturing.”
And as high-tech skills become even more vital to graduates entering those markets, colleges and universities will be on hand to provide students with the training they need to succeed.