3D printing - a new favorite in 2014 CES

Updated: 2014-01-08 15:04


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LAS VEGAS, United States - Sculpteo, a 3D printing company based in Paris and San Francisco, brought 147 lovely tiny pink pig models to the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and those pigs were manufactured by the company's latest 3D batch printing technology.

As a new, emerging technology, 3D printing has aroused great attention all over the world these years. It is considered to be a new trend in the manufacturing sector.

3D printing - a new favorite in 2014 CES

Skateboarder Peter Betti, 18, a member of the Polaroid Action team, performs at the Polaroid booth during the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 7, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

The global 3D printing industry output is expected to reach 3.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, 6.5 billion in 2019, and 10.8 billion in 2021, according to the prediction of Wohlers Associates, one of the leading firms studying 3D printing,

In the International CES, which features the cutting-edge technologies in CE industry, 3D printing has become a new favorite this year with a special exhibition zone set up for 3D printing companies for the first time.

"3D printing existed in the show with only one or two companies last year. Now we have a whole area that has been sold out three times," the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President and CEO Gary Shapiro told Xinhua.

Twenty-eight companies have joined the special exhibition zone with their latest products and technologies on 3D printing, according to the data of CEA.

"3D printing is revolutionary and it is inevitable to be a technology that will change the nature of manufacturing in the world," said Shapiro.

Compared with traditional manufacturing ways, 3D printing is quite expensive for mass application at present. But experts believe the cost will come down as technology improves.

Sculpteo's CEO and Co-founder Clement Moreau said that their new batch printing technology could reduce the cost of 3D printing by 40 to 60 percent, but the production of each tiny plastic pig still cost 10 dollars.

"It's still too expensive for mass production," Moreau said. "If you want to produce millions of this kind of pigs, you'd better find a Chinese factory."

"3D printing is increasingly affordable," said Shapiro. "Every new technology is expensive at the beginning, but later generations would become cheaper."

"There are already hundreds of thousands of free applications of 3D printing and consumers are starting to buy 3D printers for their kids to create things", Shapiro added.

Moreau felt optimistic about his firm and the future development of 3D printing. He said Sculpteo had been operated for five years relying on investments, but next year, it was expected to achieve sound development through its own 3D printing business.

2014 International CES was opened on Tuesday morning and will last till Friday. It has attracted more than 3,200 exhibitors with their latest consumer tech products in 15 categories.