3D printing is another name for the manufacturing technique known as additive manufacturing. It is the creation of a physical product from a digital 3D blueprint of it. It uses a process called layering to add several layers or fractions of an image together until the physical manifestation of it is formed. 3D printing might seem revolutionary and futuristic, but it was first used thirty years ago! It is useful in fields as diverse as automobile, aerospace & defence, retail and even in the medical industry. The hearing devices 3D printing market is a major component of the latter. An ageing population in the developed world and in China is spurring demand for hearing aids. Hearing aids mass produced are all often of the same size, which may make them too small for some people or even too large. The hearing devices 3D printing market can largely solve this problem, as the equipment can be customised to an individual’s need & requirements.
A key driver of the hearing devices 3D printing market is automation which is gradually being adopted by every industry. 3D printing enables medical equipment manufacturers to convert what was once a manual, labour driven job into a fully machine-driven one. Another factor is the preference for using customised hearing aids which can be designed according to the size & shape of an individual patient’s ear, as opposed to batch-manufactured units. 3D printing will ensure that the hearing aids will have fewer defects and an increased amount of precision. The manufacturing time will be significantly reduced and customers may even be able to print the devices themselves. Initially, this was a highly long process which took several technicians and artists around a week’s time.
Now there are just three steps involved with the 3D printer – scan, model & print and the process can be completed in less than two days. An ageing population in countries like the U.S., U.K, Germany, China and Japan are expected to spur demand for the hearing devices 3D printing market. The WHO estimates that more than 5% of the global population suffers from a hearing impediment & nearly 15% of the adult population is affected by some form of hearing loss. Increasing incidents of deafness on account of industrialisation, noise pollution, genetics, ear infections or even birth defects are all expected to boost the scope of the hearing devices 3D printing market globally.
While the introduction of technology in any labour-intensive industry typically drives down the overall manufacturing cost, the opinion is mixed on its impact in the hearing devices 3D printing market. This is particularly important in an industry which has seen a price rise almost annually for the last 20 years! While machines do help in reducing labour costs & improving efficiency, they also require heavy capital investment from companies. 3D hearing device printers range from anywhere between $20,000 to $200,000 dollars per unit, posing a major challenge to medical equipment manufacturers.
Hearing Devices 3D Printing Market Key Regions: Key regions for the hearing devices 3D printing market are North America, E.U, Asia-Pacific, MENA and the rest of the world. (RoW). Europe is the largest hearing devices 3D printing market at present because of an aged population having a high frequency of hearing disorders or deafness, a strong healthcare system and a demand for technologically advanced devices there. It is followed by the U.S. at number two but China and India are poised to grow at the fastest rate going forward. This is due to a large population, rapid industrialisation & motorization causing increasing cases of hearing impairments and a growing awareness of such beneficial devices.
Hearing Devices 3D Printing Market Key Market Players : Some of the hearing devices 3D printing market players are 3D Systems GMBH, ASIGA, EnvisionTEC, Rapidshape GMBH and Phonax and Materialise.
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