While American and European companies currently dominate the 3D printing market, a joint venture between the Japanese government and the country’s private sector looks to compete soon.
While most 3D printers use plastic print material, the Japanese plan is aimed at printing metals. Starting in 2014, the Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry plans to launch a new research and development initiative that will bring together heavy industry and universities to develop printers capable of producing end use products in metal.
According to the Japan News, “the government said it would promote the research and development of 3-D printers. By collaborating with companies and universities, the government hopes to put the next generation of printers to practical use within several years.”
If the Japanese government is successful, the country could grab a meaningful share of the growing 3D printing industry. Currently, the 3D printing market is valued at about $2.2 billion a year, and by the year 2021 market analysts forecast the industry could be generating $10.8 billion annually.
With the US already committing itself to the development of advanced manufacturing technologies, the time is ripe for Japan to make a major impact on the methods of 3D printing.
Let’s hope we get some awesome 3D printed robots out of this!
Source: Japan News