Solid Print3D Quarterly Report: The State of 3D Printing, 3D Scanning & Desktop Manufacturing Markets

by Christian on Sep 14, 2023

Solid Print3D Quarterly Report: The State of 3D Printing, 3D Scanning & Desktop Manufacturing Markets

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As we await the Q4 2022 and 2022 year-end results from the 3D Printing, 3D Scanning & Desktop Manufacturing Markets, Neil Sewell – Managing Director Solid Print3D shares his market-leading analysis on Q3 2022.

At a Glance

1. All in all, we saw continuous — and at times impressive — growth across all segments, including 3D printing, 3D scanning, and desktop manufacturing. The 3D scanning market is doing particularly well, with plenty of opportunities for increased demand and new device introductions.

2. However, difficult market conditions could slow growth going into Q4 2022 and further into 2023. We’re already seeing signs of this in the 3D printing segment, where sequential growth declined, even if the market is still up generally.

3. Q4 2022 and 2022 year-end reports are already beginning to trickle in from companies active in these sectors. We’ll soon know if downward pressure eases or whether the market will become more challenging.

The Additive Manufacturing Industry

Comprising 3D printing, 3D scanning, and desktop manufacturing solutions —the additive manufacturing industry has been experiencing steady for more than a decade. The industry weathered the significant initial impact of COVID-19 pandemic for the most part and is on its way to full recovery.

The last reported quarter (Q3 2022) shows that each sector is more or less back on track. Some market forecasts have needed adjustment and certain market players are reporting challenging conditions, but overall, the additive manufacturing sector is set to keep growing.

Let’s take a closer look at the 3D printing, 3D scanning, and desktop manufacturing markets and how they fared in Q3 2022.

Solid Print - Quaterley Report - 3D Printing - 3D Scanning - Desktop Manufacturing - Additive Manufacturing - Neil Sewell
Solid Print3D attended TCT 2022

The 3D Printing Market

The total 3D printing market suffered a significant hit at the onset of the pandemic, with market revenue plummeting from more than $2.5 billion (£2.07 billion) to around $2 billion. Q3 2023 showed that the damage has been mitigated, despite a slight dip in total revenue from Q2.

Some companies are reporting difficult conditions with the overall economy and a change in customer behaviour, according to SmarTech Analysis. Nonetheless, the sector finished the last quarter 20% higher compared to Q3 2021.

Additionally, Q3 2023 marked the third consecutive quarter that the total 3D printing market saw revenue in excess of $3 billion. 3D printing materials were the strongest performer, ending higher than in Q2 2023, as did the 3D printing software sector.

The hardware and services sector slumped slightly, with hardware ending the quarter roughly equal with materials at around $750 million in revenue. 3D printing services continue to be the revenue leader of the total AM industry.

According to Context, 3D printers for design applications continue to shift the most units and generate the most revenue. Industrial-scale 3D printers are in second place, followed by kit and hobby printers, where unit shipments fell despite a 13% increase in revenue.

Looking at individual players in the sector, results varied from company to company. For example, Markforged reported 5% revenue growth, while 3D Systems said revenue fell 15.3% (although still staying within expectations).

Solid Print - Quaterley Report - 3D Printing - 3D Scanning - Desktop Manufacturing - Additive Manufacturing - Neil Sewell
3D Systems Figure 4 joystick print

In machine introductions, we saw the launch of Formlabs Fuse1+, with a Nylon 11 CF powder for the machine. BigRep also unveiled an updated version of its Pro printer.

Solid Print - Quaterley Report - 3D Printing - 3D Scanning - Desktop Manufacturing - Additive Manufacturing - Neil Sewell
Formlabs Fuse 1+ and Fuse Sift

Another highlight of the quarter was the merger of Ultimaker and MakerBot. The new brand, called UltiMaker, will continue to offer both brands’ leading 3D printers.

Solid Print - Quaterley Report - 3D Printing - 3D Scanning - Desktop Manufacturing - Additive Manufacturing - Neil Sewell
UltiMaker S7 and the Metal Expansion Kit

Overall, the 3D printing sector is poised to continue on an upward trajectory, thanks to its rather isolated position within the larger global market, analysts note. The continuing supply chain disruptions are driving demand for additive manufacturing.

“We are being cautious about our outlook for AM going forward, but we are still seeing plenty of demand out there for additive technologies. It varies company to company and market to market, but on the whole, SmarTech is still optimistic about the AM industry’s potential heading into 2023,” said SmarTech Analysis EVP Research, Scott Dunham.

The 3D Scanning Market

In the 3D scanning sector, growth momentum is accelerating. The industry is set for growth, with the year-over-year growth rate from 2022 to 2023 projected to sit around 9.55%, according to Technavio.

Driving the growth in demand for 3D scanners is the increasing adoption of handheld 3D scanners, particularly laser triangulation scanners. More and more industries are realizing the benefits of these devices and they are forecast to lead the market into strong performance in 2023, avoiding the dip we’re seeing in 3D printers.

Another significant market driver is the incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) into handheld 3D scanners. This technology allows users to not only scan and measure objects but can also help them identify and correct potential structural and design flaws. Although the only AI-based handheld scanner on the market is the Artec Leo, we can likely expect to see more manufacturers incorporate AI into their devices due to customer demand.

Reported results from the largest players in the 3D scanning market show the projected growth is translating into reality. Ametek, which owns the Creaform brand, said its sales hit a record of $1.5 billion in Q3 2022, marking an 8% increase year-on-year from Q3 2021.

“AMETEK’s results for the third quarter were excellent … The Electronic Instruments Group [to which Creaform belongs] performed exceptionally well in the quarter with strong and broad-based sales growth and excellent operating results,” said David A. Zapico, Ametek Chairman and CEO.

Hexagon, which owns the Leica 3D scanning business, said sales grew by 7% in Q3 2022. Its industrial enterprise solutions, which included 3D scanners, saw a sales increase of 9% year-on-year from Q3 2021.

Solid Print - Quaterley Report - 3D Printing - 3D Scanning - Desktop Manufacturing - Additive Manufacturing - Neil Sewell
Leica BLK360

New 3D scanner introductions in this quarter included Creaform subsidiary Peel 3D’s new Peel 3.CAD scanner. With improved ergonomics and haptic feedback, the device marks a significant evolution from the previous Peel 2 scanner.

Solid Print - Quaterley Report - 3D Printing - 3D Scanning - Desktop Manufacturing - Additive Manufacturing - Neil Sewell
Peel 3D’s new Peel 3 scanner

Advancing into Q4 2022 and 2023, the high cost of accurate 3D scanners will be the largest obstacle for the market. Market-leading companies, however, are aware of this and are working to mitigate the situation.

“Looking ahead, we are well prepared operationally for a global economic slowdown. The investments we have made in R&D and acquisitions continue to strengthen our margins and the resiliency of our business,” said Ola Rollén, President and CEO at Hexagon.

The Desktop Manufacturing Market

Unlike 3D printing and 3D scanning, desktop manufacturing isn’t a single cohesive market. Many companies producing desktop manufacturing machinery are small, privately-owned businesses and crowdfunding through platforms such as Kickstarter is common in this sector.

As such, finding reliable market data on desktop manufacturing can be challenging. Comprehensive market studies often concentrate on large industrial machines and ignore the desktop segment.

Some data, however, is available. The desktop CNC machine market is growing globally, driven by the devices’ flexibility, affordability, and user-friendliness. This is despite the significant supply chain challenges in desktop CNC manufacture and the pressure coming from industrial-scale machines.

One notable highlight in Q3 2022 was Pocket NC rebranding to Penta Machine Co. The move is part of the company’s goal to expand beyond its Pocket NC CNC products. Penta is hinting at new, bigger things on the horizon, as an example of the desktop CNC segment’s forward momentum.

Solid Print - Quaterley Report - 3D Printing - 3D Scanning - Desktop Manufacturing - Additive Manufacturing - Neil Sewell
Penta Machine V2-10

The printed circuit boards (PCBs) segment is projected for growth, but difficult market conditions are putting a damper on things. Nano Dimensions, for example, reported a 646% year-on-year revenue growth in Q3 2022 compared to Q3 2021.

Solid Print - Voltera Nova - Printable Electronics - 3D Printed Circuit Boards - Warwickshire - Warwick - Coventry - Leamington Spa - Rugby
Flexible printed circuit board on the Voltera NOVA

Although impressive, revenue is down from Q2 2022 due to supply chain disruptions and the Ukrainian conflict. Nonetheless, the company reports growth in line with market projections.

In PCBs, a significant new release came from Voltera, who launched the Nova PCB printer just after the end of Q3 2022. The initial response to the machine has been positive, but we’ll have to see how Q4 2022 turns out with the new introduction.

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