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Rapid prototyping systems are an emerging technology in the automated prosthetics manufacturing market. These systems are distinguished from subtractive CAD/CAM milling systems by their fabrication method. CAD/CAM mills produce prosthetic units by milling down a solid piece of ceramic or metal material, whereas rapid prototyping systems, or dental 3D printers, build a model up layer by layer in an additive process.

When rapid prototyping systems first emerged in the dental industry, they experienced very swift growth from early market adopters. As with most new technologies, the growth rate was volatile; however, as of recently, the market has stabilized and will continue to grow over the forecast period. As 3D printers become readily available on the dental market, their corresponding share of the digital dentistry device market is also expected to grow.

Due to the limited availability of materials that can be used with dental 3D printer systems, this technology is mainly used for the production of copings and frameworks for crowns and bridges, or for the production of models. However, with their ability to produce copings and frameworks accurately and efficiently, 3D printers can greatly improve the productivity of labs when fabricating porcelain fused to metal (PFM) or pressed restorations. Furthermore, as the technology in these systems advances, they will be able to fabricate units from a wider range of materials.

In 2017, the total dental 3D printer market in the U.S. was valued at nearly $30 million. The market value is based upon new unit sales rather than the pre-existing installed base. Although the average selling price is expected to decline significantly over the next few years, unit sales will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 15%.

“With the top 10% of laboratories in the U.S. reporting at least one or more printers and growing adoption among dental offices and even some surgeons, we believe this growth rate to be on the conservative side and could easily surpass this forecast,” said Jeffrey Wong, Analyst Director at iData Research.

While Stratasys, 3D Systems, and EnvisionTEC continue to dominate this market, 2017 saw many new players enter the market, primarily on the budget friendly side. Formlabs, in particular, engaged in aggressive marketing strategies to educate interests about their technology and affordability, thereby attracting a large customer base. As a result, the sub-$5,000 product category has been exploding.

Rapid prototyping systems are still in the midst of becoming a more acceptable medium, especially in the clinical setting. Once these systems are widely accepted by various users within the dental industry, the corresponding decline in average selling price (ASP) will pick up pace. However, ASP decline is combatted by lab consolidation. Many small-scale labs are being absorbed, as they lack the financial means to remain profitable at their current stream of operations. As larger labs account for the majority of premium rapid prototyping system unit sales, lab consolidation actually has a positive influence on the ASP. A greater quantity of larger labs also equates to additional unit sales.

For Further Information

More on the digital dentistry device market in the U.S. can be found in a series of reports published by iData entitled the U.S. Market Report Suite for Digital Dentistry Devices. The full report suite on the U.S. market for digital dentistry includes CAD/CAM systems, CAD/CAM materials and rapid prototyping systems. There is also an analysis provided on CAD/CAM software within the laboratory environment.

The iData series on the market for digital dentistry devices covers the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Australia, China, India, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and 15 countries in Europe including Germany, France, the United Kingdom (U.K.), Italy, Spain, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), Scandinavia (Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway), Portugal, Austria and Switzerland. Reports provide a comprehensive analysis including units sold, procedure numbers, market value, forecasts, as well as detailed competitive market shares and analysis of major players’ success strategies in each market and segment. To find out more about digital dentistry device market data, register online or email us at [email protected] for a U.S. Market Report Suite for Digital Dentistry Devices brochure and synopsis.