With the innovation of 3D printing technology, the manufacturing industry has evolved over the past decade. The growth and advancements in the 3D printing technology have paved way for high growth opportunities in multiple segments such as printers, consulting service providers, 3D printing services, and the materials used in the 3D printing process.
The adoption of 3D printing technology across industries at a large scale has led to the reduction of capital costs. Moreover, with the incorporation of upcoming trends such as Internet of Things (IoT), greater flexibility can be achieved, and the overall manufacturing process can be smoothened.
The supply chain of 3D printing plastics as a 3D printing material include 3D printed parts manufacturers, material suppliers, and end-users. One of the most commonly used 3D printing material is polylactic acid (PLA) and is often used as 3D printing plastic filament, globally.
Applications across End Use Industries
The global polylactic acid material is used for several applications across end-use industries, such as food packaging, household items, healthcare, automotive, and others. The applications of PLA for the food packaging segment acquire the highest share of the market. The segment generated the maximum demand for PLA owing to the requirement for non-toxic, bio-degradable and bio-based material. Moreover, the increased awareness among consumers and the recognition provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe-to-use material are the additional other factors contributing to the growth of the segment.
Market Value Estimation
According to the market intelligence report published by BIS Research, Global Polylactic Acid (PLA) Market for 3D Printing – Analysis & Forecast, 2018-2028, the polylactic acid market was estimated at $72.4 million in 2017 and is projected to reach $504.7 million by 2028. The market is expected to register a growth of 19.30%, during the forecast period from 2018 to 2028.
PLA materials have non-toxic properties and are biodegradable, sustainable, and environment friendly and are easy to blend and recycle. These features of PLA materials and the ongoing quest to decrease GHG emissions are the factors that have the potential to drive the growth of the market. At the same time, factors such as low melting point, low permeability, and brittleness of PLA along with slow degradation rate are restraining the growth of the market.
However, due to the acceptance of PLA in different 3D printing applications and the promotion of PLA compounding to explore new opportunities are the most important opportunities that can further help enable the growth of the market.
Based on the report published by BIS Research, the global PLA market is segmented on the basis of user type, application, diameter, and region. Based on the user type segment, the market is segmented into industrial, hobbyist, and education. The industrial segment of the market is expected to dominate the user-type category during the forecast period from 2018 to 2028. This is closely followed by the hobbyist segment owing to the immense opportunities that the creative capabilities of 3D printing offers.
On the basis of diameter segment, the PLA market is segmented into the measurement of 1.75 mm and 3 or 2.85mm. In 2017, the PLA market diameter segment was dominated by the 1.75 mm category and is expected to dominate the market by 2028. This measurement is more prevalent due to its lesser resistance enables it to bend easily. The PLA market is segmented into five major segments, such as North America, South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Middle East and Africa. In 2017, the region of North America dominated the global PLA market in terms of revenue.