Military 3D printing is a process of creating 3D objects from a digital record using several materials, such as ceramics, aluminum, and titanium. Mounting investments by defense bodies in 3D printing assignments, escalating requirement for lightweight parts and components in the defense industry are the factors driving the growth of the global military 3D printing. Different offerings such as a printer, software, and material contributed to the military 3D printing market size. The market has witnessed a high demand for printer segment over last few years due to escalating need for 3D printed components from OEMs in the defense industry.
Insight by Offerings
On the basis of the offerings, the market is subdivided into the printer, software, material, and service. Of all the offerings, the printer segment accounted the largest share in the market due to escalating need for 3D printed parts from OEMs. In addition, the service segment is expected to grow at the fastest rate in the market due to its capability to print lightweight components and complex parts.
The printer is further subdivided into the portable printer and an industrial printer. Moreover, the material is further subdivided into plastic, ceramic, metal, and others. In addition, the software is further subdivided into design, scanning, printing, and inspection.
Insight by Platform
On the basis of the platform, the market is subdivided into land, naval and airborne, and space. Escalating usage of 3D printing technology to create lightweight and robust components of aircraft and drones are the major factor growing the demand of airborne segment. Among all platforms, the airborne segment is expected to grow at the fastest rate in the military 3D printing market.
The land segment is further subdivided into soldiers, vehicles, and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVS). In addition, the naval segment is further subdivided into unmanned maritime vehicles (UMV), and ships. Moreover, the airborne segment is further subdivided into missiles, aircraft, and UAV.
Insight by Application
On the basis of application, the market is subdivided into prototyping, tooling, and functional part manufacturing. Among all applications, prototyping segment is expected to grow at the fastest rate in the market due to the requirement to create cost-efficient prototypes as per precise customer necessities.
Insight by Process
On the basis of process, the market is subdivided into powder bed fusion, material extrusion, binder jetting, vat photopolymerization, direct energy deposition, material jetting and sheet lamination. Among all process, direct energy deposition segment is expected to grow at the fastest rate in the market due to the requirement for printing highly complicated, and small-to-medium sized efficient parts of defense equipment. In addition, powder bed fusion segment accounted the largest share in the market due to; advantages of powder metal 3D printing include different material options and appropriateness for prototyping.
Insight by Technology
On the basis of technology, the market is subdivided into stereolithography, direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), laser metal deposition, fuse deposition modeling, polyjet printing, electron beam melting, selective laser sintering (SLS), digital light processing, inkjet printing, and laminated object manufacturing.
The mounting investments by defense bodies in 3D printing assignments, escalating requirement for lightweight parts and components in the defense industry, and reduction in manufacturing cost of parts are the primary growth drivers for military 3D printing market.
Development of advanced 3D printing technologies, development of portable printers and 3D printing as a service are also facilitating the growth of the military 3D printing market.
The limited availability of materials, lack of standard process control, strict military standards, and production of low-cost 3D printing parts are the major challenges for the growth of the military 3D printing market.
Globally, the manufacturing companies trying to enter the military 3D printing market are required to maintain stringent regulatory standards. Moreover, the high level of capital requirement also poses a major barrier to the entry of new players. This offers an edge to the established players in the industry competition.
Geographically, North America accounted the largest share and is observed to witness the fastest growth in the market, due to the mounting applicability of 3D printing technology in several industries, such as aerospace, chemicals, and automotive. In addition, mounting government investment in 3D printing and escalating requirement for lightweight parts and components in the defense industry are also facilitating the growth of the North American market.
Key players in the military 3D printing market are catering to the demand of these devices by investing in technologically advanced products in their product portfolio across the globe. In August 2018, The ExOne Company announced 304L stainless steel a printable material due to high durability, low cost, and corrosion resistance. Stratasys Ltd., 3D Systems Corporation, 3T RPD, The Exone Company, American Elements, Markforged, and Optomec are the key players offering military 3D printing.