Munich - Airplane parts, custom-made spectacle frames, artificial hip joints and dental crowns already come from the 3-D printer in many cases. According to study by the management consultancy Ernst & Young, sales of around eleven billion euros will be generated this year.
The market should continue to grow by 25 percent annually and by 2023 will be good 25 billion euros. According to the EY study, this is driven by demand in aircraft construction and in medicine, where custom-made products are needed, as well as new materials that are suitable for 3-D printing.
In 3-D printing, plastic, ceramic or metal powders are fused layer by layer with the help of lasers until the desired shape is created. The process enables completely new, weight-saving structures that would not be possible with conventional techniques.
A printer can cost well over million euros, but the material is not cheap either. But "medical technology already earns good money with it," said Tobias Stittgen from the. The Irish company Stryker, for example, has around 70 systems running today on which implants for medicine are manufactured.
Of 900 companies surveyed, two thirds of German companies use 3D printing. In South Korea and China it is even around 80 percent. “3-D printing is currently very popular in Asia. In China in particular, additive manufacturing is set as one of the clear priorities in the economic policy strategy at the country level, ”said Stefana Karevska from EY. "There is still lot of testing going on in Germany - the local companies have not yet made as much use of it for end products as, for example, the Asian."
The technology is actually far enough for use, said TÜV Süd manager Holger Lindner. However, many companies do not see business model at the moment. However, that should change soon, the management consultants at EY expect. Every second company expects to be able to reduce its storage and transport costs through 3-D printing in three years. "Every aerospace, consumer goods and chemical company plans for the future with 3-D printing," says the study.