France - Country Commercial Guide
Additive Manufacturing (AM)

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-03-04

France is ranked in 4th in Europe in 2019 in the additive manufacturing sector after Germany, the U.K. and Italy. It represented a turnover of approximately 400 million Euros – 3% of the global additive manufacturing market. The average expected market growth in Europe still is 15 % per year in the coming years.

The main user industry sectors in France already engaged in additive manufacturing are as follow:

  • the aerospace industry. In 2019, the turnover of the additive manufacturing in aerospace was expected to growth by 25% per year until 2024.
  • The medical and dental industry, which has experienced a 35% increase in turnover in the last couple of years
  • The automotive industry is using additive manufacturing technology mainly for tooling and prototyping
  • The railway industry has been focusing on the development of polymer 3D printing parts

New developments are on their way in the naval, luxury goods, construction, food and energy industries.

The current sanitary crisis accelerated the need for more flexibility, and emphased the challenges of sourcing. New trends could appear such as the conversion of production and manufacturing relocation to favor short supply chains. The need for additive manufacturing equipment will benefit from these new trends; therefore, this sector will continue to hold opportunities for cutting edge American companies.

In terms of use and applications, AM is mainly used for prototyping product development, product customization and for production flexibility. As far as raw materials are concerned, plastic is still the main raw material used in France even if metal powders are now widely used as they allow reduction of costs, small series production and complicated parts shapes.

The French AM supply Chain

France counts about 200 companies in the additive manufacturing field; 60 R&D centers and 40 clusters and innovation center laboratories. The majority of French companies in the manufacturing industry are small and medium sized companies. Therefore, the level of financial risk that those companies can take is low and decision making to work with new suppliers is slow and complicated. Reaching French OEMs and Tier I suppliers is very challenging. U.S. companies looking to expand in the French market in the advanced manufacturing industry where suppliers need to be close to their clients should consider working with a local partner. Other business development strategies are: opening an office in Europe, acquiring a French competitor or developing a joint-venture partnership.  U.S. companies such as HP, 3D Systems and Stratasys have a significant market share in France.

The French additive manufacturing market is well structured. Through the “Industrie du Futur” French initiative (http://www.industrie-dufutur.org/) driven by the French government, companies in the advanced manufacturing field, benefit from specially adapted fiscal measures.  A 51 million Euro annual budget was allocated to R&D centers to develop additive manufacturing initiatives and projects through industrial partnerships using new raw materials such as metal, ceramic, cooper and multi-materials and developing new expertise in manufacturing processes such as; SLM (selective laser melting); LMD (laser metal deposition); SLA (laser based stereolithography); DLP (digital light processing); FDM (fused deposition modeling); FFF (fused filament fabrication).

Raw Materials

French companies play a role among the key players of polymer manufacturers and in thermoplastic powders such as Sartoma Arkema and Exceltec. In the metal powder area, French companies such as Eramet-Aubert & Duval  or Erasteel also enjoy an international reputation. The French company Armor through its Kimya brand is known worldwide for its filaments.

Machine manufacturers:

French 3D systems manufacturers can be characterized as niche companies. Today, France has four leading manufacturers: Prodways, the largest French 3D printer manufacturer, is focused on process speeds. Start-up BeAM focuses on alternative technology (laser fusion„ which pulverizes metallic powder in front of a laser), AddUp, a joint venture from companies Fives and Michelin, develops machines and industrial production lines, specifically with metal additive manufacturing.and 3D Ceram specialized in 3D printing for ceramics.

Software Developers

For the most part, 3D printer software suppliers are small publishers with specific applications and expertise. This is the case of StratoConception with its software Top Solid, or ESI Additive Manufacturing, or Core Technologies or Sokaris. However, some developers are large, traditional software companies  that develop 3DP  software,  such as Dassault Systèmes.

Service Bureaus

The number of service bureaus is notable and gives insight into the French market. The 3D printing industry in France is composed of numerous, small companies. We identified around 30 actors around France. A couple of examples are: Spartacus 3D, Cresilas, Poly-Shape-AddUp, Aurore Arka, Fives-Michelin/AddUp, GM Prod, Initial -Groupe Gorgé/Prodways and Inori.

R&D Centers

There are approximately 60 R&D centers in France. They are highly involved in additive manufacturing development and projets. Just to name a few : CEA, CETIM, IRT-M2P, Institut Carnot MICA and PEP-IPC.

AM Supervisory Authorities

The AM industry is subject to various European and international standards. AFNOR, the French standardization organization, and the UNM 920 committee are working together with other European and international agencies to coordinate adopting common global regulations (related to AM concepts, raw materials, quality of parts, security around manufacturing, processing and education).

The main European directives for machinery & equipment are:

CE Machinery safety regulation

CE Low voltage regulation

CE Electromagnetic computability regulation

The main European regulation for additives & chemicals is: REACH (subject to regulation for more than one metric ton per year of imported raw materials into Europe). U.S. exporters also need to be aware of the EU legislation restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), RoHS.

For more information about collaborative work in Europe and regarding supporting action for standardization in additive manufacturing, contact SASAM.

Trade Fairs

APS Meetings – Advanced Prototyping Solutions Lyon, France - October 7-8, 2020

JEC World 2021 Paris, France March 9-11, 2021

Global Industrie Lyon, France March 16-19, 2021

3D Print - Lyon, France June 15-17, 2021

Associations

Alliance for Industry of the Future

Encourges industrial and digital technology professional organizations to form partnerships in academics, technology, and  financing.

Cecimo (European Committee of Industry and Machine Tools)

European Association representing common interests of Machine Tools   Industries globally and at the EU level. Assumes key role in determining the strategic direction of the European machine tool industry and promotes the development of the sector in the fields of the economy, technology and science.

Cetim (Technical Center for Mechanical Industry)

French association established to improve companies’ competitiveness through mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing solutions.

Federation of Industrial Mechanics

Aids mechanics with design, production, and sale of products in France and all international markets.

Symop (Federation of Machines and Technologies for Production)

French professional organization for creators of industrial solutions — machine, technology, and equipment manufacturers with a focus on industrial applications.

French Rapid prototyping association

Contact: U.S. Embassy - U.S. Commercial Service Trade Specialists:
christophe.joly@trade.gov ; stephanie.pencole@trade.gov
Tel: +33 (0)1 43 12 70 03 &  71 78
trade.gov/France