3D printers make the grade

caxtonDespite high start up costs, more and more businesses are planning to use 3D printers for a whole variety of applications.

IDC surveyed 330 people employed by companies with 100 or more staff that are planning to deploy 3D printing.

The survey revealed that the primary uses are prototyping and product development, there are many other reasons for deploying 3D tech.

Pete Basiliere, an analyst at IDC, said that by 2018 nearly 50 percent of retail, heavy industry and life science manufacturers will employ 3D printers to make parts.


“Respondents felt overwhelmingly that using a 3D printer as part of their supply chain generally reduces the cost of existing processes, especially R&D csts,” he said.  The cost reduction for finished products is around four percent.

When choosing a 3D printer, 37 percent of those surveyed ranked quality as the main factor, while 28 percent considered price the most important.  And 37 percent of the 330 people said they had just one 3D printer and 18 percent owned 10 or more.

“3D printing vendors that take the time to articulate the value of their product in terms that align with their clients’ needs will be well positioned to capitalise on any future growth,” said Basiliere.