LONDON, Nov. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- This report covers the current and future status, opportunities and market forecasts of 3D printing. It contains many illustrative and analytical figures and tables plus 90 company profiles from across the globe. This report covers the current and future status, opportunities and market forecasts of 3D printing. It contains many illustrative and analytical figures and tables plus 90 company profiles from across the globe. Upon request the original PowerPoint can be included free of charge as part of the report purchase. 3D printing has received much attention over recent years. Hyped as the technology to bring about a 3rd industrial revolution, 3D printing technologies were in fact invented in the early 80s. They remained a niche prototyping technology until the expiration of a key patent in 2009 allowed many start-ups to offer cheap desktop 3D printers. 3D printing was thrust into the limelight and major players were reporting dramatic growth in everything from consumer to high-end metal printers. For some companies, sales have since slowed. Stratasys, 3D Systems and ExOne have all reported very low growth. However, this seems to be due to poor strategy and management rather than a lack of opportunities in the industry. The Taiwanese company, XYZPrinting, in partnership with tech giant Lenovo, offer a $450 desktop 3D printer and sold 300,000 during 2015, mostly within Asia. This illustrates that the shift to cheaper mass production of these machines is opening up markets outside of America and Europe. 3D printing encompasses a variety of different printing processes, loosely grouped into seven categories. The processes are all primarily additive in nature. Materials are deposited only where needed, resulting in significantly less materials wastage than traditional manufacturing techniques. Each technology can be used with a different range of materials, which in turn defines the suitable applications of the printer.