3-D printing, or additive manufacturing, is not a new concept, having been around for decades. But, due to technological advancements, the interest in 3-D technologies has really taken off in the last couple of years. 3-D printing hardware can now build larger components, and achieve greater precision and finer resolution at higher speeds and lower costs. These advances position the technology to emerge from its niche status and become a viable alternative to conventional manufacturing.
Currently, the global 3-D printing market is valued at approximately $5 billion and industry analysts estimate it will top $21 billion by 2020. The 3-D printers range from $10,000 to $50,000, with the biggest and most advanced commercial units running upwards of $500,000. The high cost associated with this technology presents an opportunity for leasing companies. Leasing will be an attractive option for making 3-D printing more accessible.
In addition to providing an alternative financing solution, leasing provides other attractive benefits:
- Fixed Payments: Fixed monthly payments make the equipment purchase more affordable, without the up-front capital required for a cash sale, and supports reliable budgeting.
- Adding ‘Soft Costs’: Leasing allows you to roll in services (software, maintenance, etc.) with the equipment so the monthly payment includes your total price. Traditionally, loans do not combine services and equipment costs into a monthly payment.
- Avoiding Equipment Obsolescence: Leasing makes adding onto existing equipment or upgrading to new equipment efficient and available at any time. This allows you to upgrade your equipment as technology and your company’s needs change.
- Reduces Taxes: Unlike loan payments, in some cases, lease payments may be deductible.
It’s too early to predict exactly how the equipment finance industry will be impacted by 3-D printing, but we’re already beginning to see opportunities arise.