"Big Three" strategy consulting firm Bain and Company is forecasting the 3D printing industry will continue its rapid growth and reach $12.5 billion in revenue in 2018.
The chart below, taken from a Bain infographic on 3D printing, illustrates this growth.
Bain believes 3D printing is ideal for manufacturing complex parts in relatively small numbers, but that a number of challenges remain to be solved before 3D printing can become mainstream. These are:
- High machine costs
- High material and production costs
- Low tolerance and finish levels
- Lack of manufacturing experience and guidelines
- Shortage of talent
But the smart folks at Bain think all of these will be overcome and 3D printing will continue to expand its manufacturing footprint.