Gartner Reveals Medical Applications Are Leading Advancement in 3D Printing

Bengaluru: Ceaselessly increase of 3D printing has reached the peak of inflated expectations, says Gartner. As per the report from Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for 3D Printing, 3DP of medical devices has reached to its pinnacle, although certain specialist applications are already becoming the norm in medical care. As medical applications are leading to some of the most significant deployments of 3DP technology, Hype Cycle Special Report 2015 also illustrates the market excitement, maturity and benefit of more than 2,000 technologies.
Concerning the 3D Printing, Pete Basiliere, Research Director, Gartner says, “In the healthcare industry, 3DP is already in mainstream use to produce medical items that need to be tailored to individuals, such as hearing aids and dental devices. All of the major hearing aid manufacturers now offer devices that are personalized to the shape of the customer’s ear. This is evidence that using 3DP for mass customization of consumer goods is now viable, especially given that the transition from traditional manufacturing in this market took less than two years. Routine use of 3DP for dental implants is also not far from this level of market maturity”.

The survey also indicates that, for some 3DP technologies, medical are further from mainstream use. Given the size of the market, Gartner predicts that within two to five years, the 3D-printed hip and knee replacements and a few internal and external medical devices will be in mainstream use. Conversely, en route of five to 10 years to mainstream adoption, there will be 3Dbioprinting with two categories in the Hype Cycle focusing on producing living tissues for human transplant whilst the other for life sciences research and development (R&D).

Speaking about the research and development, Michael Shanler, Research Director, Gartner says, “Some of these R&D systems are already capable of printing cells, proteins, DNA and drugs, however there are significant barriers to mainstream adoption. The sheer complexity of the items to be printed and the high maintenance requirements of these systems mean that initial deployments will be mostly limited to specialist service providers. We see mainstream adoption increasing as the systems become more diverse in their functions”.

“Advancements outside of the actual printers themselves may prove to be the catalyst that brings about widespread adoption. Technologies such as 3D scanning, 3D print creation software and 3D printing service bureaus are all maturing quickly, and all in their own way — have the potential to make high quality 3DP more accessible and affordable,” Basiliere noted.
The development of 3DP service bureaus also continues to accelerate which allows an enthusiasts and organizations to test and trial with the abilities of advanced 3DP frameworks where an interest in acquiring a 3D printer would be difficult to justify. As this ecosystem matures around the printers, so market demand and competition will continue rising and more use cases will become commonplace.

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