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3D printing is still a nascent technology in the construction market, but contractors are likely to adopt it throughout the next few years, especially as the cost of printers and materials becomes more affordable.

Those are some of the conclusions found in a new report published by SmarTech Markets, which concludes that by 2021, revenues generated by this sector will reach more than $4 billion, with $2.3 billion coming from hardware and $1.7 billion in materials revenues.

Despite some highly publicized failures, the low-cost 3D printer business had a good year in 2015 with sales of around 270,000 machines, compared to 190,000 in 2014. A major contribution to this success has been sales to larger organizations including Fortune 500 companies.

And, although consumer 3D printers beyond the "maker" market looks some way off, SmarTech sees the rapid development of a professional market for 3D printers, including architects and designers, for example.

The low-cost 3D printed materials market is dominated by the vibrant thermoplastic filament market, which will reach $1.5 billion in sales in 2021. Meanwhile, a degree of cooperation has been observed in 2015, partnering specialty material developers with larger chemical companies in order to develop high-quality specialty filaments matched with specific applications or material properties.

Source: conexpo