Following the Covid-19 crisis, 2021-2022 was a time of recovery for the French additive manufacturing (AM) industry. The level of business optimism in the domestic market is back to what it was before the pandemic. Over the course of 2021 and so far in 2022, the AM industry experienced many mergers and acquisitions. While there has been consolidation, the industry is not yet mature, which means the industry will continue to grow in the coming years.
France ranks 4th in the additive manufacturing sector after Germany, Italy, and the U.K. The additive manufacturing sector in France represented a turnover of approximately $580 million in 2021 – 3% of the global additive manufacturing market. The average expected market growth in France is estimated to be 7% per year for the coming years. As there is still no custom classification code for additive manufacturing machines, French customs has been using either the 8477(809990) HS code, or 8479 or 8486 codes to classify additive manufacturing equipment. Consequently, export and import figures are not representative of the current trade situation.
Despite the small size of its additive manufacturing ecosystem, France is the 3rd most innovative European country in terms of filing patents in the additive manufacturing field. Additionally, France invested $60 million in additive manufacturing R&D in 2021. French public research, driven by the Commissariat for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies/CEA and the National Center for Scientific Research/CNRS, accounts for 20% of patent applications. France’s national plan for 3D printing, launched in October 2021, supports the economic development of the industry. This initiative is led by the French France Additive Association and the Union of Metal Industries and Trades.
While the aerospace and automotive industries are the early adopters of additive manufacturing, the medical, dental, railway, construction, luxury goods, optical, electronics and oil & gas sectors have accelerated the integration of additive manufacturing into their production processes. The recovery of commercial aircraft demand and the increase in the military aircraft demand will benefit the additive manufacturing industry. Changes in the automotive industry and demand for electrical vehicles could also mean a higher demand for additive manufacturing products.
Additive manufacturing continues to grow in production technologies, and not only as a means of prototyping - although this is the major application by far. However, 65% of tool parts are processes with additive manufacturing technologies (molds, inserts, pliers) and one-fifth of aerospace, automotive, mechanical, and engineering companies in France use additive solutions to print their own tools.
France is a mature market in all segments of the AM sector, including 3D printers, materials & consumables, on-demand manufacturing services, files storage, software for 3D and post-processing activities.
Despite the current geopolitical situation, the slowdown in European growth, supply issues and rising energy prices, new order expectations are positive in all additive manufacturing categories. It is particularly true for additive manufacturing products, produced parts segments, and for additive manufacturing services.
In terms of additive manufacturing technologies, SLM (Selective Laser Melting), SLS (Selective Laser Sintering), FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), LM (Laser Melting), BJ (Binder Jetting) and TPP (Two Photon Polymerization) are the main processes used.
Composites and metal deposits are expected to have the strongest demand. The aerospace industry is one of the major users of metal and composites additive manufacturing technologies. The demand for these materials is likely to increase in the coming years once the aerospace sector recovers from the effects of Covid-19. The wind energy industry is also a strong user of composites additive manufacturing technologies. As of today, French companies use 87% plastics and polymers and 26% composites. Several French organizations are working on metal additive manufacturing R&D : AddimAlliance, Additive Factory Hub, Cetim, Initiative 3D, and the Scientific Interest Group/SIG-CNRS.
AM Distribution Channels
There are approximately 100 sales/distribution entities operating in France. The Paris and Lyon regions are the most represented:
- Large independent exclusive or multi brands wholesalers who sell to resellers in France and outside of France.
- Resellers have a regional market coverage or focus on E-commerce. They provide after-sales services.
- Direct sales or hybrid approach selling direct to end-users and through resellers.
Opportunities for cutting-edge American companies
France has about 200 companies operating 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 for those companies 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 should consider working with a local partner. Other business development strategies include: opening an office in Europe, acquiring a French competitor, or developing a joint-venture partnership.
For EU regulations, visit: European Standards and CE Marking
https://www.3dprint-exhibition-paris.com/en/ - 3dprint aris, France -October 19-20, 2022
https://global-industrie.com/en - Global Industrie Lyon, France - March 7-10, 2023
https://www.clocate.com/aps-meetings-advanced-prototyping-solutions/32876/ – Advanced Prototyping Solutions - Lyon, France – March 29-30, 2023
JEC World 2023 - Paris, France - April 25-27, 2023
Alliance Industrie du Future: http://www.industrie-dufutur.org/
Encourages industrial and digital technology professional organizations to form partnerships in academics, technology, and financing.
French professional organization for creators of industrial solutions — machine, technology, and equipment manufacturers with a focus on industrial applications.
France Additive Association: https://franceadditive.tech/en/home/
France Additive brings together the entire French 3D printing industry: key private companies, R&D centers, labs, university and startups, to facilitate integration of additive manufacturing process within companies.
French association established to improve companies’ competitiveness through mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing solutions.
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.
U.S. Embassy in France- U.S. Commercial Service Trade Specialist:
Stephanie.Pencole@trade.gov - Tel: +33 (1)43 12 71 78