3D Printing Service Providers

The world of additive manufacturing is highly dependent on 3D printing service providers. These firms are the first adopters of AM technologies and the primary drivers of AM industry growth. In the early days, 3D printing service providers were mainly rapid prototyping services, that could offer design and printing capabilities to help firms with product development. As AM technologies evolved a new “breed” of service providers, AM factories, are emerging to focus on customized final parts production (either tools or actual product parts and even complete end-use products), for both businesses and consumers.

As the leading global 3D printing services build larger 3D printer fleets, more and more firms are entering the industry offering rapid prototyping and small-batch production services, creating a global network of firms that are thus starting to enable one of AM’s ultimate goals: distributed manufacturing. At the same time, the larger AM service firms are now evolving into actual AM factories, introducing higher degrees of automation and streamlined digital end-to-end workflows for digital additive mass production.

Now, with AM becoming more ubiquitous throughout global manufacturing, AM service providers will continue to be one of the key access points to on-demand, additive digital production, by allowing access to their technologies on-demand, without requiring high initial CapEx. In doing so they continue to enable firms to familiarize themselves with the needs and benefits of AM technology, as they build the necessary know-how to internalize them, at least to some extent.

In VoxelMatters’ definition, AM service providers generally fit into two main categories: application-agnostic AM service providers and application-specific AM service providers. The first are firms that possess deep know-how in a variety of different AM technology types. As such they are able to provide AM services to a variety of adopting industries.

There are firms that possess deep know-how of a particular vertical of manufacturing and begin to introduce additive manufacturing to either offer specialized AM services for other firms operating in the same segment, or even directly 3D printed parts. There are also several sub-categories: all these are presented in the dedicated section of the VoxelMatters Directory, where we list more than 1,700 AM service bureaus, divided into multiple key subcategories, including AM factories and global AM service networks.

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