60% of organizations claim high start-up costs are a main factor in the delay of implementing 3D printing strategies, a new survey from Gartner has revealed. However, the study also found that early adopters of the technology are finding clear benefits in multiple areas.
Earlier this year, Gartner conducted a worldwide survey to determine how organizations are using or at least planning to use 3D printing devices — many of which are based on AVR XMEGA, megaAVR and Atmel | SMART ATSAM3X8E microcontrollers, including the incredibly-popular MakerBot and RepRap.
“3D printing has broad appeal to a wide range of businesses and early adopter consumers, and while the technology is already in use across a wide range of manufacturing verticals from medical to aerospace, costs remain the primary concern for buyers,” explained Pete Basiliere, Gartner Research Director. “3D printer vendors must work closely with their clients to identify potential applications of the technology that may have been overlooked, and improve the cost-benefit ratios of their products. Organizations that wish to experiment with the technology without incurring start-up costs should consider partnering with a local 3D printing service bureau.”
Some key takeaways included:
- While prototyping, product innovation and development are the main uses, 3D printing is also being implemented extensively in manufacturing applications.
- By 2018, nearly half of consumer, heavy industry and life sciences manufacturers will use 3D printing to produce parts for the items they consume, sell or service.
- 53% of respondents indicated that managers of R&D engineering or manufacturing are the primary influencer driving any 3D printing strategy.
- A vast majority of those surveyed felt “overwhelmingly” that using a 3D printer as part of their supply chain generally reduces the cost of existing processes, especially research and product development costs.
- The mean cost reduction for finished goods is between 4.1% and 4.3%.
- 37% of respondents ranked the quality of the finished piece as the primary factor in selecting a 3D printer, while 28% cite price is the most important
- 9% of respondents felt that production speed, the range of materials the printer could use, or size of parts it could create were the most important things to consider when deciding on a printer.
- 37% of organizations had just one 3D printer within their company, while 18% own 10 or more.
- The average number of printers per organization was 5.4.
“Clearly there is much room for future growth in this market, but vendors need to work on tools and marketing that show how the technology can be applied and drive competitive advantage. 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 capitalize on any future growth,” Basiliere concludes.
Those interested in reading the entire press release and accessing the report can head to Gartner’s official page here.