A few years ago, 3D printing was an entirely alien process that seemed impossible to think or implement. The world was happy with advanced 2D laser printing and creative imagination of the innovators was limited to a sheet of paper or surface. In today’s scenario however, 3D printing is a burgeoning business and has found its way into the daily lives of young innovators too. 3Dexter has achieved several milestones in familiarizing students with the concept of 3D printing and giving them the freedom to create their imagination into something real. The current times are perfect to explore and invest in Indian 3D ventures which are set to reach $79 million by 2022. Even with all the popularity and momentum gained, 3D printing still is at a nascent stage in India and the possibility of growth in all sectors is immense.

India is a key player in terms of large scale adoption of additive manufacturing in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. It has also qualified to become a major beneficiary of the additive manufacturing industry of the APAC region which is estimated to reach $5.56 billion by the year 2025. Several foreign firms operating in this industry are looking to establish or expand their business in the country. In fact, global ventures like EOS and Stratasys have already begun expansion here. As far as the domestic players are concerned, the 3D printing market of India is largely dominated by startups. Recently becoming the cynosure of the industry was the Halo 3D printer by Bangalore-based Ethereal Machines which was named as the best of Innovation Awards Honoree by CES, 2018. Also making news is the 3D printing curriculum by 3Dexter that trains the upcoming generation about using 3D printing for experiential learning, making changes at the grass root level and transforming traditional labs into innovative ones.

Despite the advantages that this technology offers to companies, investment in 3D printing technologies in India is still less when compared to other countries such as China. Thus, companies across different sectors need to invest heavily in this technology and reap the advantages that it offers. It is notable that several efforts to increase the adoption of 3D printing technology are being undertaken India. For example, the WEF has identified India as an upcoming strategic partner and plans to open a center for Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) with Reliance Industries in Mumbai. Apart from this, the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign gave a boost to the country’s 3D printing industry in the recent years. However, results can be bettered if Make in India can include an action plan specific to boosting the 3D printing industry and exploring opportunities for growth in India.

3D Printing India

3D printing has transformed the construction industry by enabling the modern architect to create precise design models of his visualization, which facilitates quick design approval and faster customer input. For industrial construction, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology is utilized to create industrial-strength models of parts. In the field of dental technology, EnvisionTEC 3D printersare now being used in India for a wide range of orthodontic applications.  CAD-based dental parts substantially reduce the material and labor costs of dental restorations while maintaining superior clinical quality. This industry is predicted to grow to $3.1 billion over the next two years. On demand jewelry printing is also gaining momentum in the Indian market. The establishment of EMCs and electronic manufacturing fund result in making India one of the key manufacturers in the Global electronic manufacturing market, especially in verticals such as automotive, consumer electronics, defense, telecom and medical applications. This also creates widespread job opportunities for graphic designers and engineers in the field of retail, manufacturing and sales. ProtoPrint is a social enterprise in the current 3D printing space in India that empowers urban waste pickers to ethically produce fair trade 3D printer filament from the waste plastic they collect. That filament is a competitively priced, ethically sourced, recycled alternative to virgin plastic for global and domestic markets. This is a perfect example of how 3D printing technology can be used for social causes.

There are also some setbacks faced by the current 3D printing industry like lack of awareness of 3D printing in rural areas. The entire market should be educated first on 3D printing industry and on how it can be used to solve day-to-day problems in an efficient manner. Also the current range of good quality 3D printers are priced upwards Rs. 1,20,000 ($ 2000). At this price, the printers are very expensive for the majority and only with more popularity and investment can these prices come down by 75% for 3D printing technology to become mainstream. Despite these, the future of 3D printing India looks quite illustrious.