3D Scanner Market and its key opportunities and challenges

October 15 19:31 2019
3D Scanner Market and its key opportunities and challenges

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The key players operating in the 3D scanner market are Hexagon AB (Sweden), FARO Technologies, Inc. (US), Nikon Metrology NV (Belgium), Trimble Inc. (US), and Topcon Corporation (Japan), 3D Systems Corporation (US), 3D Digital Corporation (US), Perceptron Inc.(US), Kreon Technology (France),

The 3D scanner market size is expected to grow from USD 3.76 billion in 2017 to USD 5.90 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 7.8% during the forecast period of 2018 to 2023.

Why the growing demand for 3D metrology across various industries can act as an opportunity for the 3D scanner market?

The demand for 3D metrology has been steadily increasing as manufacturing is an integral part of various sectors, ranging from automotive to medical & healthcare, and requires quality assurance, even though it entails a high infrastructure cost. Apart from this 3D metrology technology has application in various industries, including aerospace & defense, entertainment & media, medical & healthcare, architecture & engineering, oil & gas, energy & power, automotive & transportation, and manufacturing. For instance, in aerospace & defense 3D metrology is used for quality control/inspection, aerodynamics/stress analysis, legacy part reengineering, damage assessment, and design and engineering of aircraft components and their assembly. In automotive, it is used for quality control and inspection applications to ensure that the components manufactured are within specified tolerance levels. Applications such as reverse engineering and quality inspection are witnessing a high demand as they can deliver accurate results, in addition to being reliable, cost effective, and time efficient. The growing 3D metrology market is creating huge opportunities for the 3D scanner market as these scanners are an integral part in 3D metrology.

Why potential copyright issues remain a major challenge?

With reduced hardware complexity of 3D scanning, it is now easy to scan any object and print its replica with the help of a 3D printer, which creates potential copyright issues. Scanning an object, which is copyrighted or trademark-protected, and creating a digital file without the permission of the original creator is a violation of copyright rules. There were cases reported by the media where an artist was forced to remove 3D printed figurines of famous cartoon characters from sale, which were created by using a digital file produced by 3D scanning. As 3D scanning has reached the consumer level, addressing such potential copyright issues would be critical for the growth of the 3D scanner market.

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Increasing need to capture large volumes of 3D data for modeling and analysis

3D scanning data is important in the manufacturing industry as it is directly related to product quality and performance assessment efforts. 3D scanning can be used for measurement modeling that involves the visualization of a product, the quality of which can be controlled through statistical sampling. A large amount of 3D data is required to define a product adequately for precision inspection. Coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) have become a viable and cost-effective method due to advancements in data gathering sensor technology and improved measurement and inspection software. 3D scanners are, nowadays, also being used in conjunction with CMMs. 3D laser scanners, white-light scanners, and laser trackers are being widely used as dimensional metrology solutions for faster and high-precision results. These technologies have made data capturing easier and faster, resulting in highly accurate inspection. Small-sized laser trackers have large volume measurement capabilities and are increasingly being used in the automotive, aerospace, and heavy machinery industries for larger volume and high accuracy measurements.

Cost-effective alternatives available for 3D scanning

3D scanners have applications in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, architecture & construction, and healthcare. In these industries, there are cost-effective alternatives to 3D scanning. For the architecture & construction and geospatial industries, different cost-effective alternatives such as manual measurement, electronic distance measurement (EDM), and satellite systems are available in the market. EDM is capable of highly accurate measurements, and the data collected by it is used to construct an object in 3D. This is one of the most commonly used methods in the construction industry. However, though EDM is highly accurate, it is slow and the process of creating a 3D model with the help of EDM is complex.

In the manufacturing industry, the conventional method of 3D scanning through tactile probing is still widely used, especially in APAC. In the healthcare industry, especially for dental applications, the traditional and manual method of PVS impression is used for the measurement of tooth structure as a cost-effective solution.

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