The global 3D automotive printing market is anticipated to reach $12,76-billion by 2030 – expanding at a CAGR of 23,3% from 2024 to 2030 – according to a new report by Grand View Research.

The automotive industry is constantly seeking ways to reduce production costs and 3D printing offers the potential for cost savings by eliminating the need for traditional manufacturing processes and reducing material waste. Unlike traditional manufacturing methods that involve subtractive processes (cutting, drilling, etc), 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process where materials are built layer by layer. This reduces material waste and allows for more efficient use of resources.

Additionally, 3D printing can consolidate multiple parts into a single component, reducing assembly time and costs. By adopting 3D printing technology, automotive manufacturers can streamline their production processes and achieve cost efficiencies.

Also, there is a growing demand for lightweight and fuel-efficient vehicles due to factors such as environmental concerns and government regulations. 3D printing enables the production of complex and lightweight components that can contribute to improved fuel efficiency. Traditional manufacturing methods often involve the use of moulds which can limit design possibilities and add unnecessary weight to the final product.

With 3D printing, manufacturers have the freedom to create intricate designs and optimise the weight of automotive components without compromising strength or safety. By reducing the weight of vehicles, manufacturers can improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, aligning with the industry’s focus on sustainability.

Moreover, the automotive industry has embraced additive manufacturing, including 3D printing, as a solution to overcome supply chain issues and offer localised and decentralised production.

Additive manufacturing allows for on-demand production which reduces lead times and enables manufacturers to respond quickly to market demands. With 3D printing, automotive manufacturers can produce parts and components locally, eliminating the need for extensive supply chains and reducing transportation costs.

This localised production also offers greater flexibility in customisation as manufacturers can quickly adapt designs and produce small batches of customised parts. By leveraging additive manufacturing technologies like 3D printing the automotive industry can achieve greater efficiency, agility, and cost-effectiveness in their production processes.

Additional highlights of the report include:

* Based on offering, the hardware segment dominated the market in 2023. Technological advancements have played a pivotal role in the dominance of the hardware segment in the market. Modern 3D printers are faster, more precise and work with diverse materials like metals, polymers, and composites. With larger build volumes and advanced features such as automated bed leveling and realtime monitoring, they’re efficient and versatile for industrial use. This enables quicker prototyping, shorter production times, and the creation of high-quality, custom parts, fostering widespread adoption in the automotive industry.

* Based on type, the fused deposition modeling (FDM) segment claimed the largest market share of 29,3% in 2023 in the market, driven by its ease of use, scalability, rapid prototyping, cost-effectiveness, and structural integrity. FDM is one of the most affordable 3D printing technologies, making it accessible for a wide range of applications within the automotive industry – from prototyping to the production of end-use parts.

* Based on material, the polymer segment is projected to register the fastest CAGR of 24,5%. Polymer materials used in 3D printing have seen significant advancements offering improved properties such as strength, durability, heat resistance, and flexibility. These properties are crucial for manufacturing various automotive components including interior parts, exterior panels, and functional prototypes.

* Based on component, the interior segment dominated the market in 2023. The combination of customisation capabilities, the ability to produce complex geometries, weight reduction benefits, rapid prototyping advantages, cost savings potential, material versatility, and sustainability aspects makes 3D printing an attractive solution for manufacturing interior components in the automotive industry leading to its dominance in this segment of the market.

* The production segment is projected to register the fastest CAGR of 24,9%. 3D printing offers significant advantages in terms of manufacturing efficiency allowing automotive companies to produce parts and components with reduced lead times and lower costs compared to traditional manufacturing methods. This efficiency is particularly beneficial for high-volume production runs where 3D printing can streamline the production process and increase overall output.

* North America, led by the US, dominated the market in 2023 driven by the early adoption of 3D printing technology in the automotive industry. This early adoption has given companies in the region a head start in exploring the potential of 3D printing for automotive applications. Additionally, many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in North America invest a significant portion of their revenue in research and development – including the exploration of 3D printing technologies.