Disappointing sales to the public since 2013 though some hopeful signs in the Education field, manufacturers Makerbot have reported good sales in this sector and global research company Context has released an expected $17 billion projected figure including 3D printer hardware, services and materials up to 2020. This is an impressive 38% growth rate.
HP, Ricoh and Canon are all producing 3D printers in volume, to the industrial sector. HP recently made its intensions to concentrate on mid run volume production rather than prototyping , by means of new, faster and cheaper industrial processes. HP also showed off its new $130000 printer capable of X10 speeds over the fastest currently available for additive manufacturing.
It is noticeable how Chinas production giants have targeted the Education, makers & hobbyists and Engineering sectors and driven down the price of their entry level 3D printers below 500 dollars. This is the big area for the technology and where popular makes Makerbot and Stratasys have taken big hits. They have planned to outsource manufacturing now to Jabil, with factories in China. Despite slashing prices for some upmarket machines, Makerbot model Replicator 2 for example at $800 is only now inline with the current Chinese models in quality , speed and price.