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3D printing boom? You ain’t seen nothing yet, says tech research firm

US information
technology research and advisory firm Gartner is predicting rapid growth in 3D printer
shipments in the next four years, more than doubling year-on-year.

Gartner predicts that 108,151 printers will be shipped this year, then 217,350 in 2015, and reaching 2.3 million in 2018.

Demand in
consumer level 3D printers will be stoked by lower prices, better performance
and increased availability.

At the
enterprise level, uptake in manufacturing and prototyping uses will be driven
by factors such as lower costs, increased quality, and a wider choice of

classifies 3D printing into seven different types of technologies, with growth
being led by material extrusion printers, due to interest from consumer-level,
sub-$1,000 printers.

“As we noted last year, the 3D printer market is
at an inflection point,” said Pete Basiliere, research vice president at
Gartner, in a statement.

“Unit shipment growth rates for 3D printers,
which languished in the low single and double digits per year throughout the 30
years since the first 3D printers were invented, are poised to increase
dramatically beginning in 2015.

“As radical as the forecast numbers may seem, bear in
mind that even the 2.3 million shipments that we forecast will be sold in 2018
are a small fraction of the total potential market of consumers, businesses and
government organizations worldwide.”


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