Despite being at a nascent stage, the global 3D printing in medical applications market exhibits intense competition among the leading companies operating therein. According to Transparency Market Research (TMR), the top four companies held over 88% of the global 3D printing in medical applications market in 2012. These players are 3D System, EnvisionTEC, Materialise NV, and Stratasys Inc. To expand their footprint, the companies operating in the market are focusing on mergers and acquisitions. They are also aiming competitive advantage through continuous product innovation.
As per TMR, the global 3D printing in medical applications market was valued at US$354.5 mn in 2012. The market is poised to exhibit a CAGR of 15.4% between 2013 and 2019 to reach US$965.5 mn by the end of 2019. Regionally, Europe emerged as the dominant segment in the global market and is expected to report a CAGR of 16.9% during the forecast period. By application, the medical implants market is expected to report the leading CAGR of 16.8% from 2013 to 2019.
Rising Application of 3D printing for Customizing Prosthetic Implants to Augment Market’s Growth
Persistent technological advancements over the last few years have broadened the scope for medical applications of 3D printing. “The technology is still at a primitive stage, but holds immense potential for a plethora of medical applications,” said a lead TMR analyst. Currently, 3D printing has found application in the construction of surgical templates, customized impacts, and anatomic structures.
“With government and private agencies funding to push 3D printing usage in the healthcare sector, the future of the market seems quite promising,” added the TMR analyst. In regions such as the Americas, Asia, and Europe, governments have already adopted considerable strategies expediting the 3D printing application in the medical sector.
Recently, the technology has discovered application in dentistry, cranio-maxillary, and orthopedic implants. The use of 3D printing has enabled customization of prosthetic implants thus providing faster and cost-effective alternative to traditional prosthetic production. Spurred by these factors, the global 3D printing in medical applications market is expected to report growth at a significant pace over the forecast period.
Lengthy Approval Process Creating Hindrances for the Market
Different raw materials are needed for the fabrication of various implants. It is imperative for these manufacturing materials to be high performing to aid the progress of the medical 3D printing market. Hence, the use of these materials for complex procedures such as cytotoxicity, irritation, delayed hypersensitivity, and genotoxicity requires FDA approvals. However, the approval is attained post extensive clinical trials. This creates significant hindrance for the market.
Besides this, the market also faces challenge from the lack of trained professionals. Being at a nascent stage, major companies operating in the medical 3D printing market are left to target small clinics and dental laboratories to augment use of 3D printing in medical applications. These are the factors inhibiting the market’s trajectory to an extent.
Acquisition of Software Firms to Bolster 3D Printing in Medical Applications
The market is expected to gain impetus in the forthcoming years from the acquisition of software firms for 3D designing. This trend has been associated with cost reduction in 3D printing for medical applications. It is thus creating considerable opportunity for existing players to remain competent in the disruptive 3D printing in medical applications market.
Information included in the review is based findings published by TMR in a report, titled “3D Printing in Medical Applications Market (Medical Implants (Dental, Orthopedic, Cranio-maxillofacial), Surgical Guides, Surgical Instruments, Bio-engineered Products) - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 – 2019.”
The report segments the global 3D printing in medical applications market as:
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