Santosh Kasture is the Director of Pune-based Fast Track Management Consultants- a dynamic and fastest-growing Corporate Solutions Provider company offering customized corporate solutions for business growth including Management Consulting, HR Recruitments and Market intelligence services.
He has been associated as corporate strategy and growth consultant with 3D printing industry for over four years now and closely tracking Indian 3D printing industry and market. He has been hands on leader with excellent insights and understanding of Indian 3D printing market and having close network across Indian corporate sector and industry associations.
In an exclusive interview with Manufactur3D Magazine, Mr. Santosh shares his valuable insights on the impact of Covid-19 on Indian 3D printing industry during last year, expected growth and potential segments to look for during 2021, Indian 3D printing market spread, major challenges and key areas to focus for Indian 3D printing companies during 2021 and ahead…
Q You shared insights on the 3D printing market in India, industry size, the challenges and the way forward in your exclusive interview with us a couple of months back. You also mentioned that “Indian 3D printing industry is currently below $100 million, but holds the potential of becoming $1billion in coming few years” and recently the pleasant news come from Ministry of Electronics and Information (MeitY), revealing that Government of India is formulating India’s 3D printing policy and aims 3D printing industry at 3500 crore INR by 2023. How do you look at this news and future for Indian 3D printing industry in the context of this news?
A Yes, I feel this is indeed a piece of very good news for Indian 3D printing industry and the excellent initiative taken by Government of India which will help increase awareness and adoption of 3D printing technology and fuel growth of the Indian 3D printing industry in coming years. This will also help to build a strong ecosystem for Indian 3D printing industry considering Government of India initiative on policy for this industry. We cannot expect anything better than such good news coming from the Government of India and I can see this as a start of a high growth phase for the 3D printing industry in India.
As I mentioned earlier, the Indian 3D printing industry holds the potential of becoming $1billion in the coming few years. I look at this announcement from Government of India as a clear validation to my projected potential for the 3D printing industry and I can see it happening sooner than later now with the Government of India initiatives and commitment for the Indian 3D printing industry.
Q The year 2020 has been very difficult for India and the entire world. Do you feel 3D printing industry also suffered a due to Covid-19 pandemic? How do you look at last year scenario and do you see the impact of this pandemic for the future growth of the 3D printing industry in India?
A The Covid-19 pandemic brought unprecedented woes not only for India but also for the entire world affecting every person and most of the industry segments on this planet. Indian 3D printing industry also suffered a lot during last year and expected to show de-growth in Infrastructure spending, Capex investment and Sales revenues during last year for the first time in the last decade.
The only silver lining is we could see 3D printing industry got a new segment of face shield and PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) kits during Covid19 pandemic. Today many Indian 3D printing companies including Imaginarium, Anatomiz3D, Think3D and others are producing face shields, masks and PPE Kits and helping out the frontline workers in fighting the pandemic effectively.
In line with the global situation, there had been a clear impact of Covid pandemic on Indian 3D printing industry and we can clearly see lower sales numbers for OEMs and components manufacturing companies during last year. There is a sizeable impact on revenues during last year for every company associated with 3D Printing industry including OEMs, Software companies, Material suppliers, component manufacturers and service providers. Further, I can still see the impact of pandemic continued during 2021 also but things would start improving from the second quarter of this year and the situation is expected to get better during the second half of this year. We should expect better than pre-covid sales level during the second half of the year and Indian 3D printing industry should achieve 30% plus growth during 2021.
Q If that is the case, which segments or applications of 3D printing you expect to do better during 2021 in India?
A I can see 5 key segments or applications namely automotive prototyping, government and defence, aerospace and space, medical, jewellery to lead the market growth for Indian 3D printing industry during 2021 and next year.
Automotive prototyping should pick up post-budget considering government would give more clarity on Electrical vehicles and other key policy framework awaited for the auto sector. This would improve focus and spending of automotive OEMs on future models which would accelerate prototyping and even tooling significantly.
Government and Defence would be one of the most action-oriented and high growth segment for Indian 3D printing industry during next couple of years considering various government initiatives and focused efforts on Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat programs. We can expect many high-value tenders from various Government and Defense companies coming in during this and next year. There may be the addition of capacity and more 3D printing machines would be added in Government and defence companies during this and next year.
Aerospace and space are going to be one of the high growth segments for the Indian 3D printing industry during this year. This segment would be driven by both government and private players considering huge potential and future needs. Skyroot Aerospace, a Hyderabad-based Startup, unveiled its 100% 3D printed cryogenic engine named Dhawan-1 last year. Dhawan-1 rocket engine is a 100 per cent 3D printed cryogenic engine with regenerative cooling. I feel we can see a lot of similar actions and projects coming in Aerospace and Space segment during this year and Hyderabad is going to be the hub for all Aerospace and space developments.
Medical and healthcare would be the next high growth area and application for Indian3D printing industry during this year. We have seen how 3D printed face shield and PPE Kits come to rescue during Pandemic situation and created a good market out of this difficult situation. Incredible AM, a Pune based 3D printing company is leading the Indian medical 3D printing segment and established its market leadership in Indian 3D printed patient-specific implants market. They have already covered the PAN India market and associated with most of the leading Hospitals and Surgeons in India. Considering the current status and opportunities, I expect the medical and healthcare segment for Indian 3D Printing industry to grow at CAGR 45% for the next 3~5 years.
Lastly, jewellery is one of the fastest-growing 3D printing application in India and I expect this segment to maintain its CAGR 20% plus growth during this year. Imaginarium, a Mumbai based 3D printing company is the leading player in this segment apart from few more players in Gujarat market, who are driving the growth of this industry segment.
Apart from these major segments, we can expect better market and revenues from Engineering, Oil & Gas, Consumer Electronics and durables, Education, Energy and Power, Automation and Robotics, and Tooling (conformal cooling) segments during next couple of years.
Q How is the Indian 3D printing market distributed by regions as of now? Which regions would do better in 2021?
A The Indian 3D Printing industry is distributed in North, West, South and East zones. As of now North and South are the most active zones having major market share for both Plastic and Metal segment followed by West zone. There is relatively very less presence of 3D Printing in East region as of now. We expect higher growth in the South and West region in 2021compared to North India considering the projected active segments and projects in the pipeline.
If you look by cities, top 6 cities namely Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad have been the growth drivers for Indian 3D Printing industry during the last five years. These top six cities generate and contribute for more than 70% of 3D Printing revenues in India as of now. This trend would continue in 2021 also and these top 6 cities would be major markets for the current year. We can see few more cities getting added to this list during the last couple of years, which includes Visakhapatnam, Surat and Coimbatore to name few.
I see a huge export opportunity especially for Indian 3D printing component manufacturers during this year considering the continued high impact of Covid-19 situation in USA, Europe and other countries compared to India. We can expect strong export growth for 3D printing components during 2021 and onwards.
Q How is 3D printing market spread across various technologies or materials as of now? Also how you see the trend in future?
A The Indian 3D printing industry is estimated at INR 500 crore size in 2019 and is expected to grow at CAGR 30% over the next 5 years. Based on technology used, the 3D printing market is segmented into fused disposition modelling (FDM), stereolithography (SLA), SLS, MJF, Electron beam melting (EBM) and DMLS to name major ones. The Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology accounts for more than 40% share in the 3D printing market followed by SLS, SLA and DMLS as of now.
Based on input materials the 3D printing material market is segmented into Plastic/Polymers, Metals and alloys, ceramics and others. Plastic/Polymer is the most extensively used material in India currently followed by metals and alloys. Polymers are the preferred 3D print materials because of their flexibility and strength. Metals are expected to be adopted as 3D print material in the future, as components that need to withstand high temperature and pressure can be manufactured using 3D printers with metals as material. Within metals, aluminum, titanium, stainless steel and margining steel are the most widely used materials as of now.
Q In your view, what would be the major challenges, probable solutions and also the areas to focus and contribute for Indian 3D printing companies during 2021?
A There are four major challenges as of now for Indian 3D printing industry and they are – low market activities, low-capacity utilization, low margins and high operational costs. These all challenges are primarily linked with two things – the huge capacity added over during last couple of years in anticipation of high growth projections and huge downsize of business activities due to Covid-19 pandemic during last 12 months. There is a combined effect of both these things and so we can see a major impact on the Indian 3D printing industry during last year.
The real question is how the industry should get out of this situation and move on to growth trajectory sooner. It’s a difficult task but not impossible if each player from 3D printing ecosystem plays his role responsibly and effectively.
In my view, this initiative should start from OEMs wherein they should focus on giving appropriate and India specific solutions and prices for machines based on market size and market situation in India, should offer better pricing for materials and software. They should support with longer payment tenures and better financial schemes for buyers. They can also work on better training and service support and cost-effective AMC Programs during the initial years. All these things will help get better value and ROIs for their customers who are component manufacturers and service providers.
Component manufacturers should work with better operational efficiencies by having a lean, flexible and cost-effective organisation structure in place. Also, they should identify and remain focused on identified core segments and not run behind every market, every possible project and every open order in the market. They must define their target market and formulate appropriate market strategy and ensure they work on the focused market with better costs and better margins. There is no meaning of generating revenues if they are not making profits with such huge investments. They are not going to achieve their planned ROIs just on revenues, they must earn profits. I feel component manufacturers also need to work seriously on creating the market and not just catering the market. Just catering market would not help achieve profits, ROIs and overall industry growth; they must create new markets.
Lastly, end-users or end customers should support 3D printing industry by better adoption of this technology for their prototyping, tooling, medical applications and small batch production requirements. They should identify the complex parts, innovative designs and projects within their industry segment where 3D printing technology can provide a better and value-added solution for them and their end customers. They should also come out of the typical purchase cycle of sending enquires to all suppliers, collecting 3 quotations and squeezing prices for every order/project.
They should get into a long term partnership with selected few vendors and work closely with them for better and effective utilization of this innovative technology. This will also help them avoid buying machines in-house and invest so much till they reach a certain size of on their in-house 3D requirements. At this point of time, I feel end customers should support 3D printing ecosystem while it’s in nascent and also in the difficult stage. They will definitely get their share once this industry reaches a sustainable size.
As I mentioned earlier also, there is a need to build an ecosystem for Indian 3D printing industry and I am happy that we, Fast Track and Manufactur3D had recently entered in Strategic alliance for building strong 3D printing ecosystem in India. We are getting good response and support from leading players from the industry on this initiative and our efforts together in building strong ecosystem will help to accelerate growth of Indian 3D printing industry in coming years. The more support we get from the industry, the faster we would move ahead in building required 3D Printing ecosystem in India.
In our CXO Insights section, Abhimanyu Chavan, Director at Manufactur3D Magazine interviews leading CXOs from the global Additive Manufacturing community and gain insights from them on the 3D printing technology, the developments in the global 3D printing industry, and also on India’s 3D printing industry in particular.