3D printing is one of the revolutionary technologies that has taken over the world in the 21st century, and it has expanded its wings to encompass different industries and end-users. The healthcare sector is witnessing significant traction in the use of 3D printing for healthcare. The active support from the governments and the industry players in increasing the awareness regarding the benefits of using 3D printing over conventional methods of manufacturing serves as a substantial factor attributed to the growth of the global 3D printing market. The ongoing technological advancements such as incorporation of new materials and surface enhancement of the final model, ease in the development of customized products, reduction in manufacturing cost, and government investments in 3D printing projects are some of the other favorable factors for the growth of the 3D printing market.
3D printing has been on an unprecedented journey since its inception and it has already revolutionized various industries and their operations. The 3D printing material market is vast and expands far and wide. The most commonly used 3D printing materials in the world are plastic and photopolymer. Their popularity in the market is the result of their low prices as compared to metals and they are significantly reliable. The continuous research and development in the 3D industry have led to the emergence of advanced custom polymers and compounded materials, which have seen a surge in the last five to ten years.
The advent of 3D printing technology has bridged the gap between the digital and the physical world. Similar in operation to 2D printers, 3D printers use thousands of layers of material which are printed layer upon layer with the help of an extruder to create the objects in 3D. Through this emerging technology, desktop 3D printers have made 3D printing accessible and affordable for a large number of population. Desktop 3D printers can be used in homes, offices, schools and universities, among other end-user sectors. The evolution in 3D printing technologies and gradual decrease in the cost of desktop 3D printers have led to the expansion of 3D printers in major domains of application. 3D printing has now spread over the world of clothing, shoes, frames, food, and experimenting with 3D printed dresses, chocolates and shoes.
The market of 3D printing has witnessed drastic changes since its initial years and has expanded over many end-use industries including healthcare. The 3D printing material market has become more pervasive with rapid technological advancement and the expansion of 3D printing industry, transforming the dynamics of manufacturing industry. The deep chasm between the digital and physical has been bridged with the innovation of 3D printing and now people are widely using this emerging technology for a physical representation of their digital design and products.
One dramatic surgery made worldwide news in 2012 when an 83-year old Belgian woman with oral cancer had her jaw replaced by a tailor-made, 3D printed titanium mandible in what can be called a first-of-its-kind surgical transplant. Metal-focused additive manufacturer LayerWise from Belgium used a method developed by a surgical team from Belgium’s Hasselt University to create the fake jaw. Titanium, a well known material in the medical implant industry because of its biocompatibility, was powdered and then printed out layer by layer.
Why is HP foraying into 3D Printing?