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Published on : Aug 12, 2014

Ranging from a 3D printing dress to a novelty figurine like Dita Von Teese, people’s belief in 3D printing is claimed to be a fad. However, with 3D printed prosthetics, car parts, and food products, 3D printing plastics are worth $1.4 billion, as recorded by spring 2014. 3D printing plastics are also headed to space for scientific use. 

According to a popular industry report by SmarTech Markets Publishing, the 3D printing market for polymers is all set to grow over the next five years. The current market value has reached $310 million and the report also suggests that this market will further expand as its user base continues to grow and the margin for manufacturers and materials companies becomes promising.

However, the report profiles key players including Stratasys, EnvisionTEC, 3D Systems, DSM Somos, Makerbot, and many more in the 3D-printed polymer market. It also provides information of the ten forecasts for materials used in this market such as PP resins, nylon, ABS, PLA, PC, acrylate resins and thermoplastics. Of all, PLA and ABS materials will claim for the highest revenue in the market, while durable polymers and polymer powders such as nylon, will constitute a considerable amount of market share in the next decade.  

In terms of weight, PLA, ABS, and nylon are estimated to consume the highest share of the 3-D printed materials accounting for more than 13,000 metric tons in 2019. Nevertheless, albeit manufacturers sell material through large batch sizes, the demand for materials will not satiate or increase the sales significantly. According to the study report, materials like resins that are economically produced in smaller quantities prove highly valuable to the overall market. With this vision, Evonik has acknowledged the entire trend by producing 12 nylon powders in heavy batches that are collected in inventories until they are utilized. 

At present, the equipment manufacturers govern the materials supply chain for striking effective opportunities for companies dealing in large materials. This trend has caused material companies to partner with other smaller equipment companies in order to develop 3D printing hardware in the market.