The latest craze in the digital world is 3D printing, opening up avenues in different spheres of application, starting from automobiles to healthcare. Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is the process of turning a digital model into a solid three-dimensional physical object by adding material layer by layer (per an article on 3D Hubs).
The U.S. military has been experimenting with 3D printing of late. In fact, the construction industry is seeing growing usage of the technology. The automobile sector has also seen bigwigs like Porsche and Bugatti switching to 3D printing for manufacturing rare or complex parts. In fact, research firm Acumen Research and Consulting expects the 3D printing market to reach a value of $41 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 20%. Meanwhile, North America has been dominating the 3D printing market, region-wise.
Factors Favoring the 3D Printing Market
3D printing is seeing growing usage in the healthcare, automotive, construction consumer goods and aerospace and defence sectors. The technology helps in enhancing efficiency by lowering costs, time and minimizing errors and offering the option to customize.
3D printing has also received warm response from the MedTech space. Notably, research firm Future Market Insights expects the global 3D printed medical devices market to see a CAGR of 18.1% between 2017 and 2027. Orthopedic implant and device manufacturers are switching to 3D printing techniques to meet the rapidly growing demand for customized implantable devices. Through 3D printing, manufacturers are being able to develop implants of customized sizes and shapes in a short time, improving efficacy and lowering the overall cost of surgeries.3D printing is also gaining popularity in the dental industry as it allows dentists to carry out procedures with more precision and efficiency, saving patients excess trauma. Notably, dental 3D printing is a process of creating three dimensional solid dental models such as implants, surgical guides, braces, dentures, crowns and bridges.
3D printing makes it possible to make entirely sealed, hollow structures, which can be made lighter, stronger, and more competently than traditionally-produced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Accordingly, Stratasys, for instance, has designed a jet-powered UAV, 80% of which is 3D printed. Moreover, this advanced technology was recently used by ICON, to manufacture a 3D printed home in a span of just a few weeks by using cement and a 3D printing system.
The hardware segment within the 3D printing market holds immense potential and has been growing at an attractive rate. Per an Allied Market Research report, the segment accounted for around 58% share of the total market revenues in 2017. However, the services segment has been gaining more popularity as most of the companies which do not want to invest in technology or hardware for producing 3D models seek for companies that provide 3D printing services. Accordingly, the services segment is expected to see the fastest CAGR of 24.9% from 2019 to 2025.
ETFs in Focus
3D Printing ETF (PRNT - Free Report)
The fund seeks to provide investment results that closely correspond, before fees and expenses, to the performance of the Total 3D-Printing Index, which is designed to track the price movement of stocks of companies involved in the 3D printing industry. The Total 3D-Printing Index is composed of equity securities and depositary receipts of exchange listed companies from the United States, non-U.S. developed markets and Taiwan that are engaged in 3D printing related businesses within the following business lines: (i) 3D printing hardware, (ii) computer aided design (“CAD”) and 3D printing simulation software, (iii) 3D printing centers, (iv) scanning and measurement, and (v) 3D printing materials.
The fund holds 55 stocks in its basket. It has managed $34.8 million in its asset base and its expense ratio is 0.66%. The fund trades in average daily trading volume of around 8,900 shares and has gained 9.5% year to date.
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