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Medical equipment manufacturers lead 3-D boom

by Nancy Ryerson, Staff Writer | May 30, 2013
3-D is growing — and not just in situations that require silly-looking glasses. The 3-D imaging market is slated to be worth $9.82 billion by 2018, with medical equipment companies like GE Healthcare and Philips Healthcare proving to be leaders in the space, according to a new report from Markets and Markets.

Though there is a high demand for 3-D imaging in media and entertainment, it also has various uses in the health care space. The market that includes 3-D MRI, CT and ultrasound is predicted to be worth $5.9 billion by 2017, according to a 2011 report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. The technology has become especially popular for 3-D ultrasound.

3-D printing is also now being used for medical purposes. Recently, a 3D-printed windpipe saved the life of a baby who had developed a rare tracheal disorder.

It can also be used to create artificial limbs and dental crowns, as well as 3-D print-outs of radiology images. Potential future applications include using the technology to explore new therapeutic drugs and creating artificial heart valves.

Besides health care leaders, other important players in the 3-D space include Panasonic, Konica Minolta, and HP. The market is expected to grow at 26.7 percent between now and 2018, the study reports.

"Most of the industries and companies that are extensively using imaging are shifting towards 3D imaging technology and its solutions to meet the requirements of today's business and customer needs," the report concludes.

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