In the following video, 3D printing specialist Steve Heller interviews Conor MacCormack, CEO of Mcor Technologies, an Ireland-based 3D printing company that utilizes ordinary copy paper as its printers' primary material, about where the industry is in terms of adoption rates. According to MacCormack, overall industry penetration is less than 8% in the enterprise-focused segment, and less than 1% in the consumer segment. In other words, there's likely tremendous potential for the 3D printing industry to continue growing at an impressive clip for years to come.
A full transcript follows the video.
Steve Heller: In your estimations, what percentage of product developers haven't necessarily integrated 3D printing into their operations, into their workflow? What kind of opportunity are [we] looking at? Where are we with this market penetration?
Then, obviously, the earlier stage prototypes, the conceptual models; that's really your [Mcor's] bread and butter. I wanted to talk more about what you think that market could be worth one day.
Conor MacCormack: I think if you broke the industry into two groups, enterprise and consumer, there's different levels of penetration in both. I think on the enterprise level there's people talking about maybe 8%. I think it's lower than that.
I don't know how many examples where you get companies in to see what you're doing [with 3D printing] and they say, "Well, I could use that." It's like, "How have you not heard about 3D printing?"
All these shows, you're kind of in a bubble. You believe that everybody here knows about it, but they've paid to come here. It's the companies out there that might have heard about 3D printing, but they don't think it's applicable to them.
I would say in the industrial sector it's a lot lower than 8%. Even at that, say you talk 8% -- you're talking about at least 12 times, 12.5 times growth on the enterprise level. That's very significant levels of growth that you could look at.
But on the consumer side, it's a fraction of a percent. The number of people that will be using this technology in the future, whether that's going to be in the home or just getting access to a 3D-printed part, because I think there is a difference.
Whether people are going to have a 3D printer in their home for printing out parts in the house, I don't necessarily see that with the current state of the technologies. But everybody will have access to a 3D-printed object, and that's going to be different. That's how people are going to get access to it. I think then you're talking about huge levels of growth.
We're really just seeing the start of it. I think we talked about this before. People, I believe, make the mistake in thinking that all the platforms that are out there, that's it, that you might as well close the patent office -- there's going to be no more innovation in 3D printing.
But we're seeing new players coming into the market, and the stuff that we're doing, as well. I'm sure all the companies are doing the same thing: thinking outside the box, trying to make machines orders of magnitude faster, orders of magnitude better materials.
Once these things happen, and they will happen, then it just throws out the rulebook again, and it opens the market up to a huge level of expansion.
I think the hype around the 3D printing industry... the potential is not hype. We will look back at this time and we will say, "Do you remember that time? This was really the start of a big change." I don't want to say "industrial revolution" because everybody's using that word, but it is going to be a big change, and people will look back at this time.
The [3D printing] technologies are going to be very different [in the future], but the concept will be the same, of taking a digital file and making it physical, but it will just be done in a different way. That's the thing people forget, that there will be new innovations all the time.
It's whoever can come up with the right innovation for the right market, being very strategic and picking a niche -- which is a big part of our strength, that we know very well where we're strong. And that's where we see very big, strong growth in our industry and the particular niche market that we're good for.
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