3D scanner is a device that measures tangible things using laser, x-ray, or light and creates polygon meshes or intense point clouds. These devices are also known as white light scanners, 3D digitizers, Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), or laser scanners.
The global 3D scanner market earned revenues worth about USD 2.4 billion in 2014. These scanners are made with the help of various technologies. Few of them scan objects with the help of optical image sensing; while the others are based on laser technology. Structured light is an upcoming 3D scanner. It projects light strips on the objects & captures the details.
The 3D scanner market is projected over USD 7.4 billion by 2024. It should experience a decent 11.5 % CAGR during the forecast period (2016 to 2024). Increased adoption of 3D scanners in various applications; such as quality control, rapid prototyping, and reverse engineering is expected to spur industry growth.
3D scanning helps execute cultural & structural assessments and manage constructions. Surging R&D expenditures along with innovations will boost industry revenues in the near future. Favorable properties; like effectivity, affordability, and precise & fast results are likely to propel industry demand in the forecast period.
In addition to these, several industries are transforming ‘design-to-production’ methods by efficiently applying 3D ‘content-to-print’ solutions. Technical innovations coupled with ‘hand-held device’ developments are also likely to propel market sales. The industry will also penetrate other novel industries.
High demand from industrial, architecture, civil surveying, mining, and dentistry sectors can boost market incomes. Moreover; mechanical dimensional testing, urban topography, and quality archeology raise the demand for these scanners.
Emphasis on hardware & software improvements should propel the accessibility of these devices to customers, impelling industry sales. Suppliers of software & hardware solutions mostly focus on easy usage & workflow, thus enhancing industry growth.
The workflow entails scans, application to a CAD authoring, and point cloud administration. It is generally complex, especially for the novice’ and may hamper the market. Thus, workflow management and usage-convenience are deemed increasingly significant for consumer success.
On the other hand, high prices and strong competition are anticipated to pose challenges for the 3D scanner market. In addition, the complex installation of these devices should hinder the industry. However, in the next few years, this negative impact may reduce, with companies focusing on developing cost-effective devices (thus achieving economies of scale).
The 3D scanner market is divided into products, ranges, applications, and regions. Products comprise structured light, laser, and optical. Laser scanners dominated in 2013, occupying most of the shares. However, structured light and optical are estimated to grow rapidly till 2024. Optical scanners, in particular, would grow at a decent CAGR in the eight years ahead.
Based on ranges, the market is segregated by short, medium, and long range. Short range scanners are said to account for over 46 % of the overall market, reaching USD 2.8 billion by 2022. Medium is anticipated to witness substantial growth at a CAGR over 11 % till 2022. The long range segment can exhibit relatively slow growth due to its high sales prices.
Applications comprise aerospace & defense, entertainment & media, industrial manufacturing, architecture & engineering, and healthcare. Industrial manufacturing dominated in 2014 and held over 30 % shares that year. 3D scanning is considered highly critical for quality control & quality inspection systems in the construction industry.
Entertainment & media will notice the highest growth of over 13 % CAGR in the near future. Importance of these scanners in architecture is ascribed to the development of portable devices. The adoption of 3D scanning assists in archiving and preserving architectural pieces from museums.
Architecture & engineering applications are expected to capture over 12 % shares by 2022. On the basis of geographies, the industry is categorized into Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific (APAC), the Middle East & Africa (MEA), and Latin America. North American and European markets jointly accounted for considerable shares in 2014. This was mainly due to heavy market applications across industrial manufacturing and healthcare.
North America, in particular, occupied significant shares in the recent past. Regional shares were credited to some of its major players that offered high-tech 3D scanning devices. Moreover, rising adoption of VDE/VDI regulations that define ‘3D scanner’ specifications is likely to augment North American sales.
In addition to these, sophisticated healthcare, infrastructure, & their likes also propel regional expansion. Latin America can be the most lucrative market. It is anticipated to grow at a decent CAGR (of over 13 %) till 2022. The same could be ascribed to rising adoption of these devices across different applications.
Asia-Pacific held more than 23 % of the overall industry in 2014. It is further expected to grow rapidly over the next few years. This should be attributed to the demand for 3D scanning products from various industries; such as healthcare, architecture & construction, and automotives.
Value chain of this industry consists of different stakeholders; for instance, 3D scanning providers, research & development (R&D) entities, product manufacturers, retailers/resellers, software companies, and final consumers. All these stakeholders play diverse roles in their fields.
These stakeholders are accountable for changing conventional scanning methods and establishing new cost-effective & faster technologies in the industry. Newly introduced technologies transform the scanning method by making it more effective.
Manufacturers form the 2nd stage of value chain, who make machinery and achieve higher accuracy. They also attain sophisticated resolution, while offering quicker scanning & benefit of economies. By achieving the aforementioned factors, the industry will expand further with respect to multiple applications across several industries.
The worldwide 3D scanner market is characterized by strong competition; with frequent acquisitions & mergers in software & hardware industries. Main players operating in the worldwide 3D scanner industry are Trimble Navigation Ltd. (U. S.); Basis Software Inc. (Surphaser); Nikon Metrology Inc. (Belgium); Creaform Inc. (Canada); and GOM mbH (Germany).
These key manufacturers cater to various industries that encompass manufacturing, research & education, aerospace, consumer products, etc. Development of cost-effective 3D scanning devices is likely to provide an opportunity to the industry in the coming days.
Research Support Specialist, USA