Project Management

The Evolution of 3D Printing Technology

From the Emerging Technologies Blog
UPDATED WEEKLY - Today all organizations depend on technological innovation in order to sustain their existence. Analysis of emerging technologies and identification of those technologies with the greatest potential is essential to being prepared for upcoming projects. The objective of this blog is to establish future oriented technology analysis and insights. This blog was established to provide program and project managers with information about these emerging technologies. These emerging technologies have far reaching repercussions for program and project managers. This blog will jump-start the learning process and allow program and project managers to become proactive.

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There are many aspects of 3D printing that are accelerating and expected to continue to aggressively advance in the next few years.  Its impact is being felt from conceptualization through development and production into post production service and support.  3D printers are also being called additive manufacturing equipment with a projected transformational impact to traditional and existing / current production lines and manufacturing facilities.  Currently a growing number of researchers, analysts and advisors are beginning to call 3D printing a “core technological enabler” for the current decade as well as a significant contributor to Industry 4.0 that this blog has mentioned before.

INSIGHT:  The World Economic Forum (WEF) 2020 produced a document titled, “3D Printing: A Guide for Decision-Makers” and this clearly shows the level of interest and likely impact of this technology. 

Mordor Intelligence reported in 2019, the global 3D printing market was valued at $13.7 billion USD.  They went on to project that the global 3D Printing market, is estimated to grow to nearly $63.5 billion USD in 2025.  Once again, like many emerging technologies, 3D printing has a robust compound annual growth rate (CAGR) and this time it is nearly 29.5% over the forecast period (2025). It should be noted that some regulations and restrictions are currently under consideration and that they have the potential to slow the projected growth.

The current major and dominant 3D printing market segments include the following:

  • Cement
  • Fabrics
  • Ceramics
  • Metals
  • Plastics

NOTE: Human Tissue is an emerging market segment that stands to have huge implications.  It could produce replacement human tissues and organs that do not experience rejection by our bodies.

It should be noted that nano-materials are expected to continue and produce elements for use in 3D printers as well as bio-materials and other technologies. This will continue to fuel application in industries such as aerospace, automotive, construction, consumer products, defense, dental, healthcare, industrial products, jewelry, manufacturing and so much more and that includes new products as well as supplying spare replacement parts.

CASE STUDY: An aging electro-mechanical system broke down and was in need of a replacement part.  The model was no longer supported and would require 6 weeks to produce the replacement part by the original manufacturer.  The system would be inoperable until the part arrived.  One of the maintenance workers contacted a local 3D printing vendor and provided drawings of the part.  The part was produced in a couple of days and cost much less than was quoted by the original manufacturer of the system.  It should be noted that one professional expressed concern that this example could result in a legal dispute given the original system developer/manufacturer that designed and produced the product, may feel they own all the rights to it.  An interesting legal consideration for sure.

Please contribute to the current 3D Printing utilization poll.  LINK:

Clearly, 3D printing as another emerging technology that will likely rapidly evolve over the next decade and create new capabilities that are used to produce products and services.  We all know PMs will be the ones expected to bring these to reality. Just think about the overall impact on traditional supply-chains and the maintenance profession! Is 3D printing in your future?  Certainly, something to think about.

Posted on: February 05, 2020 08:54 PM | Permalink

Comments (9)

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took the poll. The company I am working with has 3D printing projects underway right now.

Our R&D department has pilot program in process right now.

Took the polls and will go through all the details above and the PDF file, seems very interesting. Thanks Kevin - King of AI.

Dear Kevin
Interesting your perspective on the topic: "The Evolution of 3D Printing Technology"

Thanks for sharing

I am convinced that industrial production, as we know it today, will not be the same with 3D printing

Dear Kevin, Good article. As Mr.Luis and others pointed out, 3DP is going to change the landscape of manufacturing processes. The adoption is key for organisations to succeed in conjunction with IoT and AI initiatives.

@ Suneel - can you imagine the workspace is all of this stuff comes together at the same time?

Hi Kevin, Yes. That is what really excites me and see a good business case. Hopefully this is considered as a good business case for all organisations to adopt. The organisations who adopt all these new trends(3DP, IoT, AI etc) will be more agile and successful I reckon.


UPDATE: Here is an interesting successful case example of the benefits of implementing 3D printing. They claim the use of 3D printing saved Guhring in the UK an incredible 75 percent in tooling costs.


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