Global 3D Printing Metals Market 2019-2025
3D printing was first developed in the early 1980’s. Since then, it has witnessed rapid adoption in many industries. The most common materials utilized for 3D printing technologies today are plastic and metal. 3D printing metals include titanium and titanium alloys, stainless steel, aluminium and aluminium alloys, gold, silver, nickel-based alloys, and bronze. Metal 3D printing is being widely adopted in industries like aerospace and aeronautics, automobile, precious and artificial jewellery, and healthcare and dental care.
Also called additive manufacturing, 3D printing follows a bottom-up approach. The main difference between conventional manufacturing and 3D printing is that in 3D printing, objects are built layer-by-layer, whereas in the conventional process, objects are built by removing material and shaping them using tools. While Powder Bed Fusion is currently the leading technique used in metal 3D printing, other techniques like Direct Energy Deposition and Binder Jetting are also gaining prominence. The most widely used feedstock for all these techniques is atomized metal powder. 3D printing in industry is currently used mainly for rapid prototyping. It is also used in large-scale production where mass customisation is required. With research still going on in these techniques, further reduction in costs will lead to wider adoption of 3D printing in production in the future.
The demand for 3D printing metals is growing due to the advantages the technique provides. 3D printing is slated to be a $17 billion industry by 2020 according to A.T. Kearney. While 3D printing applications in the aerospace, industrial, and automotive industries are estimated to grow at a CAGR of 15-20%, healthcare and jewellery industries are estimated to grow at a whopping 25-30%. The 3D printing metals market thus provides ample opportunities for growth. Complex geometries which are difficult to achieve with traditional manufacturing processes can be produced using 3D printing in a more cost-effective manner. In addition to that, due to the bottom-up approach of 3D printing, objects can be manufactured with minimum defects and reduced material wastage. Furthermore, a high level of customisation can be accomplished for medical applications like prosthetic limbs, medical devices, and personalised medical and dental implants.
Top Key Vendors: –
3D Systems Corporation
Carpenter Technology Corporation
Equispheres, GKN PLC
Eos GmbH Electro Optical Systems
Concept Laser GmbH
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- Aerospace and aviation industry
3D printing metals like aluminium and titanium are used in these industries.
- Automotive industry
Stainless steel is used to produce high-strength, high-density parts with water and corrosion resistance. Aluminium is used for automobile and racing parts due to its low weight and high strength.
- Healthcare and dental care
These segments utilise bio-compatible metals like titanium and cobalt chrome alloys.
Precious metals like gold and silver can be used to produce jewellery, providing mass customisation, minimum wastage, and complex designs.
- Titanium and Titanium alloys
- Stainless steel
- Nickel-based alloys
- Cobalt Chromium alloys
North America accounts for 40% of 3D printing revenue. It is followed by Europe which contributes 28%. Asia-Pacific accounts for 27% of the revenue. Thus, while North America is the current market leader, Europe and Asia-Pacific indicate higher future growth potential.
Despite increasing adoption, 3D printing speeds remained slow, preventing it from being used to produce on a large scale. However, recent research by scientists at the Northwestern University, Illinois, has enabled them to produce the largest ever object till date – about the size of an adult human, at very fast speeds. A Los Angeles-based start-up called Relativity is producing rocket components using a combination of 3D printing and artificial intelligence.
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