Opinion Materials: Connection between professional & low-cost printers
United States – Professional 3D printing technology has a strong influence on the market for low-cost systems and vice versa. Smartech Markets Publishing believes that approach to materials may be another significant link between the two markets.
Low-cost 3D printers continue to expand the addressable market for 3D printing technology by (1) enabling product development and other production efficiencies in smaller businesses, while (2) professional systems expand into higher-end manufacturing opportunities away from prototyping.
Although the two segments are often seen as nearly mutually exclusive with little interconnectedness in terms of impact or opportunity, Smartech sees a continued integration between the two.
There is a cycle of influence that continues to ebb and flow between low cost and professional 3D printing systems, hinging on technology development patent expiration opening the door to development of lower-cost versions of established professional technologies.
In this way, professional systems have a strong influence on the market for low-cost systems. But the converse is also true, and developments in low-cost systems have in turn influenced the way professional system manufacturers are approaching their high-end systems.
Pricing is the obvious example - as low cost systems have improved in capability, it has forced high end manufacturers to produce new products at a lower price point or lower the price point of existing products in order to contend.