Dutch 3D Hubs – one of the best known companies in the world providing services based on additive technologies, publishes periodic reports presenting trends prevailing on the 3D printing market. The recently published report states, among others, that 40% of orders processed in the company were printed for the needs of serial production, and 65% of this was industrial, electrical or related to consumer goods.
For the first years of operation, the company was something like a social platform uniting users of desktop 3D printers who provided 3D printing services to other people or companies that did not have devices of this type. In 2017, 3D Hubs changed its strategy, focusing exclusively on the industrial sector – currently the company’s offer includes both 3D printing services (performed on the most expensive industrial machines) as well as CNC milling or injection molding. This change resulted in complete isolation from the roots and extinction of the social element – however, it turned out to be necessary for the further development of the company and, as shown by subsequent years – simply beneficial.
As a rule, the 3D Hubs business model remained the same – the company still associates subcontractors, except that they are not hobbyists and enthusiasts of 3D printing, only large enterprises that provide technologically advanced production services. The 3D Hubs network has approx. 240 partners and the vast majority of them come from the USA and Europe. These two regions of the world simultaneously generated 95% of orders placed on the platform – half of them came from the United States and 12% from the United Kingdom.
The key results of the latest report indicate that 3D printing is currently being implemented for mass production in the automotive, aerospace, marine, medical, space, sport, rail and defense industries. 3D Hubs claims that professional users turn to online platforms to meet their production needs, guided by the availability of specific production and material resources that they are currently unable to implement in their own companies.
The report also indicates that one of the biggest advantages of 3D printing services over other production methods is the ability to produce ‘impossible geometries’, i.e. things that traditional manufacturing techniques cannot cope with.