Top 5 Conclusions from 3D Hubs 3D Printing Trends Q1/2018Agnieszka
3D Hubs is world’s biggest platform bringing together suppliers and recipients of 3D Printing services operating in over 140 countries. Its creators publish a 3D Hubs 3D Printing Trends report on a quarterly basis, prepared based on data from 6000 active international service providers, creating quarterly over 200,000 3D Printed parts. Below we present the 5 most important conclusions drawn from the last report.
USA still in the lead
Until recently, 3D Printing was perceived as a technological novelty. Nowadays, it is the fastest growing manufacturing technology. Enterprises around the world are investing in 3D Printing technology, perceiving it as a way to increase their competitiveness and innovation. Demand for additive technologies is growing year by year, hence making 3D solutions and printers more available in global markets. According to the report presented by 3D Hubs, the leading European countries using additive technologies include Great Britain (11.1%), the Netherlands (6.3%) and Belgium (1.4%) where VSHAPER 3D Printing solutions are offered by their European distributors. The US, however, still remains the undisputed leader of the ranking, recording 39.6%.
European cities in the forefront
3D Printers are an integral part of machinery parks of many companies and they are used as alternative to conventional production methods. Additive manufacturing is increasingly used not only in the production environment, but also in education and smaller companies located in the centers of the largest cities in the world. According to the report prepared by 3D Hubs, 3D Printing technology is most commonly used in New York (2.7%), however, European cities are also in the forefront – London (1.9%) and Amsterdam (1.2%).
FDM by far ‘the first’
3D Hubs report clearly shows that FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), which consists in extruding plasticized material layer by layer to build durable parts, is the engineers’ favorite 3D Printing technology. 66% of 3D Hubs platform users chose this particular technology. Other technologies such as SLA – building parts layer-by-layer using a UV laser to solidify liquid photopolymer resins, MJP/PolyJet – a process that jets and cures thin layers of liquid photopolymer with UV energy or SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) which uses a CO2 laser to heat and fuse durable thermoplastic powder to build versatile parts, are not that popular mainly due to the lengthy process of model building.
PLA & ABS prove to be most useful
The choice of proper material used in the process of additive manufacturing has immense influence on the quality, durability and the appearance of the print. According to 3D Hubs, most frequently chosen filament is the ecological and biodegradable PLA (34%), produced from natural raw material. The material owes its popularity to, among others, the fact that it does not need stable printing conditions and, what is extremely important – it does not delaminate and imitates shapes and details with great precision. It is also worth mentioning that objects made of PLA are solid and durable. ABS (16%) an ideal material for creating conceptual models and usable parts is ranked as the second most commonly used 3D Printing material.
It’s in all black and white: The color does matter
According to 3D Hubs report, not only the quality and type of material are taken into account when choosing filaments. Platform users attach great importance to their color as well. From the looks of it, black (35%) and white (21%) have been dominant in design studios and industrial prototypes. On the one hand, this trend is consistent with a timeless fashion for these colors in design, and on the other hand it confirms the growing importance of 3D Printing technology in the industry, where models created in black and white are the most useful.
Source: 3D Hubs