Albany, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/01/2014 -- 3D bioprinting constitutes a raft of technologies, commercial and not-yet commercial, which have the potential to significantly impact a number of major markets, including in vitro testing for more efficient drug discovery and toxicity testing of personal consumer products, as well as the clinical fields relating to implant/grafting of human tissue. Though not yet employed within its addressable markets (current bioprinter sales and products are to research and development organisations only), the potential for rapid deployment in some areas already exists, subject to adequate funding being made available.
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Drug discovery is a highly expensive process which in most cases will end in failure to gain regulatory clearance (see figure 1). The reason for this high failure rate is related to the lack of sufficiently accurate pre-clinical (prior to human volunteer) testing methodologies which have to date been limited to 2-dimensional human cell assays together with animal testing.
3D Printing 2013-2025: Technologies, Markets, Players
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3D printing has received much attention in the press over recent years. Hyped as the technology to bring about a 3rd industrial revolution, 3D printing technologies were in fact invented in the late 80s since when they have seen steady, if unspectacular, growth. After 2009 however, changes occurred which have seen the fortunes of the 3D printing world take an abrupt turn for the better. Manufacturers of 3D printers are reporting a surge in demand and markets for 3D printing are growing rapidly across a number of application areas as new materials development open up new opportunities.
3D printers in fact constitute a raft of technologies, based on a number of different physical mechanisms, the common feature of which is the generation of a 3-dimensional physical object from a digital model. The process is additive in nature, as materials are laid down only where needed, and thus results in significantly less materials wastage than traditional manufacturing techniques. Each of the technologies is suitable for use with a different range of materials, which in turn defines the suitable applications of the printer.
Originally used for the rapid production of prototypes for form and fit testing, applications are transitioning towards also functional testing of prototypes under working conditions, and further, the manufacture of final products.
Whilst 3D printing of final products is relatively slow compared to traditional manufacturing methods, new, more complex, design avenues are opened up enabling the economic production of lighter components, critical to the aerospace and automotive industries. Applications are also emerging in the medical and dental fields, where the opportunity afforded by cheap customisation is allowing surgeons to replicate a patient's body based on MRI and CT scans in order to practice difficult invasive procedures, and medical and dental implants which are fully customised to a particular individual can be generated.
This report discusses each of the technologies and on-going technological advances in depth, and analyses both the current and future markets for 3D printing. The market structure is also detailed, and we present profiles of the major players together with insights gained from in-depth interviews with a range of companies involved in 3D printing. We also present detailed forecasts for the future of the 3D printing market.
This report will be useful to any organisation currently considering how 3D printing might be of value to them but are unsure of the right technology to employ. It will also be of value to any organisation already familiar with 3D printing, but wish to seek either a broader overview, or a more detailed and up-to-date knowledge of the field and its development.
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