3D Printing Technology –and Opportunities, Challenges and the Future in India

3D Printing Technology

The 3D Printing technology started in India around 1980. However, 3D printers became commercially available from 2010. A phenomenal increase was observed globally in 2012, in the value of the market for 3D printers and services with around 29% rise in the value to $2.2 billion. Let us discuss more about 3D Printing –and Opportunities, Challenges and the Future in India

About 3D printing

A process by which any three-dimensional object of any shape that can be made from a digital model is known as 3D Printing or as Additive Manufacturing.

It is the next generation printing technique. It doesn’t make use of ink or paper in 3D printing rather it is the process of making prints with different kinds of material like plastics, metal, ceramic, glass etc. It makes possible the creation of three-dimensional output physical object by a machine.

An additive process is used to achieve this, whereby layers of materials are laid down in different kinds of shapes. This is a distinctive method and differs greatly from the traditional machining techniques that depend on the removal of materials either by one of the subtractive processes that are cutting or drilling.

There are multiple uses and benefits of 3D printing technology that range from rapid prototyping too, architecture, applications in construction, engineering, fashion, jewelry, medical industries,  military, automobiles, etc.

It is expected that in the near future, 3D printers would become a consumer good and would be easily available.

3D printing technology has been embraced by some initial adopters and pioneers in India as they have set up successful enterprises around it.

The recent scenario of 3D printing industry in India

  • In the Indian markets, a decade ago, the basic 3D printers were sold to individuals or small organizations for the price ranging from Rs. 40,000 to Rs.1.5 Lac.
  • In 2012, when four highly enthusiastic entrepreneurs inspired by the track record of Stratasys and MakerBot, applied in Manipal University for an incubator program in order to establish the first 3D printing business in India. This was ultimately registered as Global 3D Labs in 2014.
  • The 3D printing industry is developing and maturing gradually in our nation with the cooperation from foreign technologies and manufacturers.
  • Multiple young entrepreneurs from metros like Mumbai, Bangalore, etc have started considering and implementing their businesses in this industry.
  • The 3D printing industry is gradually maturing. Many local manufacturers have started providing 3D printing services.
  • It has been found in many cases that the bundled offerings usually have imported components, and are sold under the “Made in India” label.
  • The Indian 3D printing industry has gone through a drastic change ever since the emergence of 3D printer manufacturers.
  • Some reseller organizations in India sell premium brand 3D printers manufactured that have been manufactured in Germany or USA.

Partnerships have been set up by Indian entrepreneurs with foreign collaborators in order to share their 3D printing technology and to manufacture printers. Some Indian hi-tech companies are also designing and manufacturing 3D Printers. Not just designing and manufacturing, many India hi-tech companies are also selling 3D printing services.

Arvind Nadig is one such acknowledged name in the Indian 3D Printer manufacturers. He began his Bangalore-based venture in 2014 and sold Indian-brand 3D printers at about a base price of Rs 1.2 Lacs to small organizations, professionals, and designers. Another well-known organization in this industry is LBD Makers. They have managed to manufacture and sell a limited number of entry-level 3D Printers costing around Rs.75000 and Rs.1.5 Lacs.

Market applications of 3D printing technology

The field of architecture has been aided and transformed by 3D printing by enabling the professional architects in visualizing and creating accurate design models, which helps in creating quick design approval and rapid customer input.

Item is leading the digital revolution in the engineering and electronics fields respectively,  by giving potential power to the product designers and engineers in India.

In the dental technology field, in India, for the requirement of the wide portfolio of orthodontic applications, the envision TEC 3D printers are being used.

The Indian jewelry business uses technology provides high-resolution, high-precision jewelry design. This technology is mostly provided by Novabeans along with its global partners that offer the most advanced 3D printers and 3D printing services in different price ranges.

The Indian 3D PRINTING industry is bound to develop enormously in the near future.

Opportunities in 3D Printing

  • 3D printing will bring a revolution in every industry.
  • The 3D printers print multiple things that include printing organs, prosthetic limbs, space stations, science, education, manufacturing, fashion etc.
  • A learning perspective and skill set adopting mindset are a must in order to get in this business. 3D printing is hardware, software and a design.
  • A multidisciplinary approach is essential to get in this industry. This sector is likely to create multiple job opportunities in the near future, as per the experts.

Advantages of 3D printing:

Unique design properties, customizing the ability for mass production, visualizing the design and training, cost-effective prototyping including dental implants, healthcare, jewelry designing, architecture etc. are some of the advantages of 3Dprinting.

Business opportunities in 3D printing

The three options for an entrepreneur who desires to begin a new business in the field of 3D printing is as follows:

  • Fabrication
  • Services
  • Trading

Licenses and qualifications required for developing a career in 3D printing.

Multiple licenses are essential to begin a 3D Printing business. The licenses are mostly obtained from Government of India. Knowledge about  CAD/CAM software and 3D printer operations are essential for qualifying for the entrepreneur position in this industry.

Investment & Financing

This is a capital-intensive business with good returns thus the entrepreneur might have to invest in the business. Finance can be obtained from various sources like nationalized banks, private banks or financial institutions.

Challenges of 3D printing technology

There is indeed a requirement of new 3D printers that can be used for various platforms with multiple filaments. 3D printing is yet to be widely explored and developed in India.

To create a business in 3D printing is the first big challenge. To quickly show 3Dprinting benefits is yet another challenge and also how 3D printing will revolutionize the world.

Excluding some investors, the investment community traditionally has a no risk-taking attitude and policy and thus only funds the programmes and projects that have been previously successful. Therefore it acts as a great barrier in the growth graph of 3D printing businesses.

The process of acquiring funds is, in fact, the most difficult part of setting up a 3D business as no banks or investors are ready to provide funds at the time of setting up their business.

Multiple design participants particularly the small scale & medium scale, still have no trust in prototyping as an investment as they find it expensive.

If materials are engineered and produced locally, the cost can reduce drastically and result in a perfect demand and supply equation.

3D printing equipment size restricts multiple products from being made in one go.

Future of 3D Printing in India

In India, 3D printing is an exciting and evolving prospect as it is entirely new. 3D printing in a rural or social context is bound to develop out of India.

Several leading organizations are planning to launch developed printers in their system. Like the organization Brahma that plans to launch 3 new printers and build up a strong community of collaborators that would be targeted at exploring the future of 3D printing in India. Currently, 3D printing is at its peak of a developing phase. The coming years will see a lot of happening in this market that would give a clear guidance to the industry for the further advancements.

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