The Hubs on-demand production platform has published the latest report on current market trends in the 3D printing industry. According to the report, between 2021 and 2022, the 3D printing market recorded positive growth of + 19.8%, returning to pre-C19 levels. While other manufacturing industries have experienced declines due to the pandemic and related economic lockdowns, the 3D printing sector has been able to rapidly adapt to the needs of manufacturing companies and to support disrupted supply chains.

Additive manufacturing has enabled the production of more parts and products locally and on demand, revealing the potential of 3D printing for real and effective use in digital manufacturing processes. Of the enterprises surveyed by Hubs, as many as 68% of them printed more parts in 3D in 2021 than in 2020, which indicates a significant growth of the market. Hubs predicts the 3D printing market will almost triple by 2026, forecasting $ 44.5 billion in revenue.

As more and more companies and manufacturers begin to switch to Industry 4.0 integration, the 3D printing market can contribute to increasing the durability of production chains in the context of global challenges – such as the ongoing war in Ukraine or high uncertainty about the political situation between China and Taiwan. While 3D printing is widely used in prototyping, Hubs anticipates that the technology will play a vital support role in the production of production tools, jigs and fixtures. Hubs also says that the share of 3D printers in the production of end-use parts and series production will increase significantly.

Hubs respondents also saw an increase in the use of 3D printing for applications with higher production volumes, with 49% of them applying the technology to production runs of more than 10 parts. At the same time, digital manufacturing companies have experienced increased demand for parts quantities in excess of 500 pieces. According to Hubs, this demand has increased by 163% in the last five years. Continuous advances in 3D printing production are expected to bring more batch and mass production applications to many industries.

Today, various industries such as healthcare, aviation, automotive and energy use 3D printing technology to produce functional parts for end use. 3D printing has also enabled mass customization in industries such as dental, which produces implants and devices tailored to the patient’s needs.

At the same time, Hubs notes that 3D printing is still not fully used at the moment, with only 20% of respondents saying that they use this technology depending on the geometric complexity it can achieve. The report notes that there are still opportunities to educate users about the potential of 3D printing to create complex geometries for all kinds of parts.

12 trends for 2022

The Hubs report predicts an increase in the following 12 trends in 2022:

  1. Increased adaptation of 3D printing and stronger entry into new markets.
  2. Workflow automation in 3D printing and the use of collaborative robots, especially in post-processing.
  3. More robust supply chains and localized production on demand.
  4. Development and qualification of high-performance materials for 3D printing (refractory metals, ceramics, high-temperature polymers and composites).
  5. Increased industry partnerships, mergers and acquisitions.
  6. Increase in demand for large-scale 3D printing systems, especially in metal 3D printing.
  7. More sustainable innovation in the use, design and materials for 3D printing.
  8. Increased use of 3D printing for applications in final production and series production.
  9. Improved reliability and repeatability of 3D printers.
  10. Industry standardization, e.g. adopting the 3MF file format.
  11. Increased just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing integration through Internet of Things (IoT) integration.
  12. Reduced human intervention between inventory systems and production capacity.


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