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: 2021-10-12

In 2019, France ranked 4th in Europe in the additive manufacturing (AM) sector after Germany, Italy and the U.K. The additive manufacturing sector in France represented a turnover of approximately 489 million Euros/USD 575 million – and 3% of the global additive manufacturing market. Before the pandemic, the average expected market growth in Europe was estimated to be 15 % per year for the coming years.

The United States has the strongest market share in the additive manufacturing equipment segment, followed by Japan, Germany, China, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The majority of those foreign additive manufacturing equipment suppliers sell their products through European representation.

Additive manufacturing in the aerospace and automotive sectors was hit hardest during the pandemic and subsequent economic slowdown. But other sectors such as the medical, dental, and railway industries continued expand.   Furthermore, new developments are on their way in the naval, luxury goods, construction, food, and energy industries. The current sanitary crisis underscored the need for more flexibility and emphasized challenges in sourcing. New trends appeared, such as converting production capacity and manufacturing relocations to favor shorter supply chains.

France is a mature market in all segments of the AM sector: 3D printers, materials & consumables, on-demand manufacturing services, files storage, software for 3D and post-processing activities.

French companies have a great interest in 3D printers and scanners. There are 21 active 3D printer manufacturers in France as well as many new start-ups in this market segment. The most mature 3D printing technology is resin light curing, mainly thanks to the French manufacturer Prodways/ Gorgé Group and its technology “Moving Light.” SLS (selective laser sintering) technology, binder jetting, and extrusion are also very popular in France. There are four main types of 3D printing technologies: large 3D printing volume associated with the extrusion FFF (fused filament fabrication) technology; metal 3D printing; high performance thermoplastic 3D printing and composites 3D printing.

The French AM materials and consumables market segment is led by French companies such as Arkema, Exceltec, Kimya/Armor, Eramet-Aubert & Duval or Erasteel. But large international companies have a presence in France via distributors: Stratasys, 3D Systems, General Electric, ExOne, Materialise, Evonik Industries, Hoganas, and Royal DSM.  Large chemical organizations such as Dupont, BASF, and Sabiv now propose materials dedicated to 3D printing,

On-demand manufacturing

The majority of large companies in France have used production subcontracting for on-demand manufaturing, but we are now seeing that companies are beginning to implement in-house AM products development.  The largest actor in France is Dassault Systèmes, but also BASF/Sculpteo, 3D Hubs and Proto Labs.

3D files storage technology

In terms of 3D file format, 3D printing is associated with STL technology. Two formats are used in France: AMF (Additive Manufacturing format) and 3MF (3D Manufacturing format).  In France, there are companies such as: Sketchfab; Cults3D and Dagoma.

AM Sofware

There is a broad spectrum of software for AM applications is present in France: software for 3D parts modeling; simulation software; design software; production preparation software; production monitoring software & MES (manufacturing execution software). Actors such as Dassault Systèmes with its CATIA and SolidWorks solutions, TopSolid with its CAxMan initiative and BASF/Sculpteo with its FabPilot software are leading this market segment.

Post-processing is driven by the growth of the 3D printing market. Actors such as PostProcess Technologies and Cylaosare operating in France to proceed with the finishing of 3D parts.

AM Distribution Channels

 There are around 100 sales/distribution entities operating in France.  The Paris and Lyon regions are the most represented:

Large independent exclusive or multibrands wholesalers who sell to resellers in France and outside of France. Wholesalers such as Machine-3D, Hava 3D/Sotec 3D, and its branches Opportunities for cutting-edge American companies: France counts about 200 companies in the additive manufacturing field, 60 R&D centers, and 40 clusters and innovation center laboratories. Most French companies in the manufacturing industry are small and medium-sized firms. Therefore, the level of financial risk that those companies can take is low, and the decision to work with new suppliers is slow and complicated. Reaching French OEMs and Tier I suppliers is challenging. U.S. companies looking to expand into the French market in the advanced manufacturing industry where suppliers need to be close to their clients. Neofab (B2B resale), and Makershop (pro and generalist resale) run their own reseller network.

Resellers have a regional market coverage or focus on E-commerce. They provide after-sales services.  Some of them are ultra-specialized, such as Dentéa

Direct sales or hybrid approach

Some brands such as Tobeca, e-Motion or Qualup sell direct to end-users, whereas others like Volumic or Prodways sell direct and through resellers.

Some companies such as CAD Vision or Neofabs are distributors and resellers and also have regional branches. They usually sell high-quality products.

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.

For EU regulations, visit trade.gov Website under European Standards and CE Marking

Trade fairs

Global Industrie - Lyon, France

APS Meetings – Advanced Prototyping Solutions, Lyon, France

JEC World 2021 - Paris, France

3D Print, - Lyon, France

Associations

Alliance for Industry of the Future Encourages industrial and digital technology professional organizations to form partnerships in academics, technology, and financing.

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.

France additive Association - France Additive brings together the entire French 3D printing industry. The key players in industry, research, innovation, creation and startups come together to pool skills and move forward together.

Cetim (Technical Center for Mechanical Industry) - French association established to improve companies’ competitiveness through mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing solutions.

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. The association is promoting the need for a new classification code for additive manufacturing machines.

 

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