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: 2019-10-13

In Europe, the turnover generated by Additive Manufacturing reached 3.6 billion dollars with Western Europe representing 83 % of that figure and Eastern Europe, 17%. The leading markets in Europe are Germany, U.K., Italy, and France in 4th place. For the next few years, the expected market growth in Europe is 15 % per year.

In AM, it is important for suppliers to be geographically close to their clients. U.S. companies looking to expand in the French AM market should adhere to the following best practices:

  • Find local partners in the French market
  • Open local subsidiaries in France or Europe
  • Acquire French SMEs
  • Establish Joint-venture partnerships
 France is a relatively new player in the additive manufacturing market and represents 3 % of the global market as compared to Germany which represents 9.4%.   

In France, AM is mainly used for product development (28% of applications), product customization (16%), and production flexibility (13%). Prototyping represents around 34 % of AM production (compared with 50% in 2016).
The top industries that apply AM in France are Electronics (22%), Industrial (19%), Automotive (19%), Biomedical (16%), Aeronautics & Space (10%), Laboratories (7%) Defense (5%), Architecture (4%).  New applications have started to develop in industries such as energy, construction, luxury goods, and mechanics. As far as raw materials are concerned, plastic is still the primary main raw material used (88 %). Resins are also widely used (35 % of applications) because of their strength. Metal powders are gaining in popularity (28 % of applications) as they allow a reduction of costs, small series production, and complicated parts shapes. A program called 3D Start PME was launched in France in 2017, with the goal of helping French SME’s develop metal 3D printing parts. The program has the support of organizations such as the CETIM, SYMOP and the CEA.
The market for metal 3D printing parts is relatively young in France. Most metal 3D printers on the market have been sold to R&D centers and universities with the exemption of large private sector companies such as Thales, Michelin, Safran, GE and Wright. While the certificate for the use of titanium parts in the aerospace industry has not yet been achieved, small scale production of these parts has already begun.
The French AM Supply Chain France accounts for approximately 200 companies in the AM field, 60 R&D centers, and 40 clusters, innovation centers & labs. Most of the French companies are small- and medium- sized firms.
In 2017, French companies benefited from a budget of 47 million Euros in government & private funds for R&D in the AM field. Below is a cartography of French R&D institutes involved in AM research. Raw materials such as metal and compound materials are used in the R&D process. These R&D centers are developing 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
From a global perspective, some French companies are key players in polymer manufacturing  (namely French company Sartoma Arkema) and in thermoplastic powder production – principally used for Selective Laser Sintering technology (such as Arkema and Exceltec). Similarly, a large majority of powders used by manufacturers globally are imported. The import market, and thus, the worldwide materials market is dominated by four key players: Erasteel (France), Hogänäs  (Sweden), LPW (UK), and Tekna (Canada).
Machine manufacturers:
Three companies dominate 3D systems manufacturing for  industrial applications in France : Stratasys, a U.S. company, 3D Systems, also a U.S. company, and Electro Optical Systems (EOS), a German company, hold respectively 29%, 28%, and 12% of market share. French 3D systems manufacturers can be characterized as niche companies
today, France has three manufacturers working on metal additive manufacturing: Prodways, the largest French 3D printer manufacturer, is focused on process speeds. Start-up BeAM (bought by AddUp in June 2018) focuses on alternative technology (laser fusion, for example, which uses a laser to pulverize metallic powder) and AddUp, a joint venture from companies Fives and Michelin, develops machines and industrial production lines using metal additive manufacturing.
Software Developers
For the most part, 3D printer software suppliers are small publishers. However, some developers are large, traditional software companies  that develop 3DP  software,  such as: Dassault Systèmes: specialty 3DP manufacturer ; Materialise: specialty manufacturer and Sokaris: large, traditional software  company.

Production Contractors
The number of production companies is notable and gives an insight into the French market. The 3D printing industry in France is composed of many small companies. Production is also difficult to make profitable because of the  cost of production tools. Many contractors are not always able to accompany the growth of their clients in additive manufacturing because of their size.
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.
Various working groups for standardization exist in France through the UNM – Union de Normalisation de la Mécanique:
AM applications, definitions and requirements”
ISO/TC 261/WG “Testing and simulation methods”
ISO/TC 261/AH STEP NC AMF “process, terms and definition of AM”
ISO/TC 261/ASTM/JG53 “requirements regarding purchase of AM parts”
ISO/TC 261/ASTM/JG66 “technical specification on metal powder”. 
For more information about collaborative work in Europe and regarding supporting action for standardization in additive manufacturing, contact SASAM.
Trade fairs
Industrie Lyon Lyon, France March 5-8, 2019
JEC World 2019, Paris, France March 12-14, 2019
APS Meetings Advanced Prototyping Solutions Lyon, France - March 19-20, 2019
3D Print - Lyon, France June 4-6, 2019
Aerospace Additive Manufacturing Summit Toulouse, France - December 3-4, 2019
Composites Meetings Nantes, France November 13-14, 2019.
Alliance for Industry of the Future
Encourages 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