The Stunning Rise of Rapid Prototyping and Its Applications


Thanks to technological advancements, the rapid prototyping industry has seen stunning amounts of growth over the last ten years. This booming market is worth millions of dollars and is responsible for a major revolution in the way that associated manufacturers design and creates new parts.

Rapid prototyping can be defined as any technology that can turn a three-dimensional CAD model into a functional object. Additive manufacturing methods, including 3D printing, are the most common; with these processes, layers of plastic, nylon, or resin are fused into the desired shape. However, subtractive manufacturing methods, like CNC machining, have also proved to be incredibly effective for certain designs.

3D printing can be used to create parts made from nearly any type of thermoplastic and some metals. SLS and SLA remain popular for functional end-use parts, but material jetting, powder bed fusion and other processes are also common.

CNC rapid prototyping is typically preferred for metal objects. Because CNC machining is a subtractive manufacturing process, this method has some design limitations that are not present for 3D printing. However, the resulting parts are extremely durable and suited for nearly any application.

Some of the world’s largest industries have started to rely on rapid prototyping. However, the process also remains open to individual manufacturers and companies of all sizes. From individual parts to large productions, rapid prototyping is a cost-effective choice for nearly any 3D design.

The rapid prototyping market accounts for material suppliers, manufacturers and distributors, and the engineers and designers who rely on these products.

Rapid prototyping technologies include 3D printing, CNC machining, and other on-demand manufacturing methods.

These statistics represent a major shift in the way that engineers design and test new products. From individual models to batches of as-needed parts, rapid prototyping has made quick and cost-effective manufacturing a reality for nearly every commercial field.

The rapid prototyping industry has seen rapid growth within the last decade. Between 2010 and 2015, the U.S. market grew by an average of 22% every year. From 2015 to 2020, this yearly growth increased to an average of 27%. In 2020, the current market value is estimated at around $309.9 million.

Although the United States has the greatest market share, rapid prototyping has also seen worldwide popularity. If current growth rates continue, the global rapid prototyping market is expected to be worth 2.6 billion by 2025. This statistic includes a compound growth rate of 41% in the Asia-Pacific market, where massive industrialization has increased the demand for both manufacturing goods and consumer products.

Nearly every manufacturing industry has benefited from rapid prototyping technology. However, a few specific market segments have come to rely on rapid manufacturing as a regular part of their design and production process.

If the above information has piqued your interest, you might want to check out 3D Hubs. They are a specialized global network of engineers and manufacturers that have nurtured a reputation for their high-quality and speed of delivery.

Their intuitive platform allows engineers to readily upload their designs, receive an instant quote and start production within days.

“Founded in 2013, the 3D Hubs network has since produced more than 4,000,000 parts, making 3D Hubs the global leader in distributed manufacturing. We have raised over $30M from the people behind the world’s most successful online platforms, such as Uber, Spotify, and Booking.com. Our company headquarters are located in the vibrant city center of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.” – 3D Hubs.

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