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3D Printing Progress
Posted on October 30, 2015 by  & 

The exciting fringes of 3D printing

The core of the 3D printing industry is well known. Consumer-level 3D printers continue to sell like hot cakes. GE are manufacturing over 100,000 fuel nozzles in metal for their next-generation jet engines. And so on. The fringes of 3D printing are less well known but they are just as exciting. On Nov 18-19 in California the IDTechEx '3D Printing USA' conference turns to the two hottest fringe topics in 3D printing: bioprinting and 3D printed electronics.
IDTechEx Research have developed market forecasts for both bioprinting and 3D printed electronics. The bioprinting market is forecast to be worth over $4bn by 2025 in the report 3D Bioprinting 2014-2024: Applications, Markets, Players with the main short-term commercial applications to be toxicity testing for the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. More recently we forecast in the new report From 2D to 3D Printed Electronics 2015-2025 that the 3D printed electronics market for equipment alone will be worth at least $1bn by 2026, mainly due to PCB prototyping and mass production of printed antennas for mobile devices.
nScrypt, already famous for their pioneering work on bioprinting, entered into a collaboration with Novacentrix to develop 3D printed electronics less than a year ago. The President and CEO of nScrypt, Dr Kenneth H. Church, will be lecturing at our conference on what he calls "Direct Digital Manufacturing". This is the convergence of 3D printing and printed electronics where more sophisticated manufacturing will be done locally to reduce shipping requirements, storage requirements, waste and overall cost to an unprecedented extent.
At CES in January a startup spun out from MIT and Harvard unveiled a new 3D printer that can hot extrude traditional thermoplastic filament and also cold extrude a highly-conductive viscoelastic silver paste. At our conference Michael Bell, co-founder and hardware lead at Voxel8, will be describing his vision for the future of 3D printed electronics including not only the 3D printing hardware but also software and functional materials. His vision includes the manufacture of devices from passive components using 3D printing instead of assembling of hundreds of mechanical and electrical components.
PCB prototyping is usually done either via a lengthy traditional etching process either locally or abroad or using specialist CNC milling machines that struggle with multilayer PCBs that are a ubiquitous requirement for professionals. Many companies are trying to enter this market using printing technologies but NanoDimension stand above all others because they are the only company offering a high-resolution solution for professional-quality multilayer boards. Director and co-founder of NanoDimension, Simon Fried, will be presenting at our conference covering not only their DragonFly 2020 machine but also the novel materials they have developed in order to make this a reality. In addition to traditional silver nanoparticle inks, NanoDimension have developed a unique dielectric nano-ink.
The 3D printing industry created a tsunami of hype in 2012 with the advent of the world's first consumer-level 3D printers. This hype around consumer-level technologies made 3D printing a household name. Surprisingly, this culminated in rapid growth across the entire industry including established players offering high-end industrial equipment who suddenly saw up to 40% growth. The same pattern will repeat in 2016 with the advent 3D printed electronics. I will also be speaking at our conference to provide an overview of this market based upon my latest report "From 2D to 3D Printed Electronics" where I forecast that 2016 will be the year that puts 3D printed electronics on the map and the technology will expand to become worth in excess of $1bn for equipment alone by 2026.
For bioprinting we have Yaser Shanjani from Align Technology speaking about 3D printing techniques for tissue engineering of implants for early stage treatment of orthopaedic defects. Specifically, the development of musculoskeletal treatment strategies via tissue engineering as part of regenerative medicine. This is next generation technology compared to current success stories such as the 50,000 hip implants created by Swedish Arcam.
If you would like to learn more about the exciting fringes of 3D printing please come and join us at the Santa Clara Convention Center November 18-19 for our 3D Printing USA Conference.
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