Expanding Array of Compatible Raw Materials Drive 3D Printing Metals Market

The 3D printing of metals has seemingly opened a new paradigm in metal manufacturing. The potential to make materials with complex geometries and unique set of physical and chemical characteristic is what broadly propels their popularity. Among the key properties these materials show are excellent ductility, heat resistance, and low weight. Over the past couple decades, incessant advances have been made in 3D printing technologies. Coupled with these, the advent of promising raw materials to aid machining with 3D printing has spurred the demand for 3D printing metals to wide array of applications. 3D printing metals are, thus, have shown extensive promise to a range of industries to make tooling and functional prototypes. 

High-end Engineering Applications Growing

Growing utilization of these materials in several high-temperature engineering applications most notably in the aerospace and automotive industry have encouraged the prospects of the 3D printing metals market. In recent years, a fast emerging application avenue is in the making of medical and dental implants. 

Among the various materials, steel and its alloys have gathered some steam as the preferred material among a large cross-section of manufacturers in the 3D printing metals market. Aeronautics has seen at the forefront of the application. New array of alloys that can be 3D printed has considerably augmented the potential of 3D printing metals to very technical applications over the past few years. 

Fascination of End-Use Industries with 3D Printing Isn’t Waning

Fascination of end-use industries with 3D printing metals notwithstanding, commercialization hasn’t been at all smooth. The high cost concerns of the technique is one of the factors dampening their uptake among manufacturers. Further, the viability of 3D printing for large-scale production seems to be far-fetched dream for engineers at least for now. Having said this, the popularity of 3D printing metals is not going to wane anytime soon, opined interested stakeholders and investors in 3D printing technology. Efforts to make technology-advanced 3D printers affordable may be one of the key enablers of the future strides the market is expected to take in the coming few years.

Global 3D Printing Metals Market: Introduction

3D printing, well known as additive manufacturing, is a novel method of manufacturing any structural parts directly from a digital model by using the laser material buildup approach. It is also called tool-less manufacturing. 3D printing can produce highly dense metallic parts in short time with high precision and accuracy. The key features of 3D printing metals such as freedom of part complex design, part consolidation, and light weight of parts are particular interests for aerospace, oil & gas, marine, and automobile applications. Powder bed fusion, wherein each powder bed layer is selectively fused by using energy sources such as laser, is the most promising additive manufacturing technology that can be used for producing small, low-volume, and complex metallic parts. The technology combines the design flexibility of 3D printing with mechanical properties of metals.

Global 3D Printing Metals Market: Overview

Over the last few years, 3D printing has become highly popular among several industries, due its capability of mass production without any material waste. 3D printing of metal parts uses less energy and resources, which aids in reducing wastes to minimum. 3D printed finished products are more than 60% light in weight than their machined counterparts. The rising demand for high-precision engine components with complex structure in aerospace and defense sectors has augmented the demand for 3D printed metals. Availability of new materials/metals for prototyping, increasing demand for prosthetic and dental implants, and rising investments in new product development are factors fueling the demand for 3D printing metals in automotive, medical & dental, and other industries. However, to find the correct design parameter is difficult in case of 3D printing. Also, the 3D printing technology has its limitations in terms of producing very large parts. These factors are likely to restrain the global 3D printing metals market during the forecast period.

Global 3D Printing Metals Market: Key Segments

Based on metal form, the global 3D printing metals market has been segmented into powder and filament. Based on material, the global 3D printing metals market has been segmented into titanium, stainless steel, Inconel, aluminum, cobalt, copper & bronze, iron, precious metals, and others. In terms of manufacturing process, the global 3D printing metals market has been divided into direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), laser metal deposition (LMD), binder jetting, and others. In terms of application, the global 3D printing metals market has been classified into medical & dental implants, jewelry, aerospace, automotive, engineering & industrial, and others.

Global 3D Printing Metals Market: Regional Outlook

In terms of geography, the global 3D printing metals market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America holds a major share of the global 3D printing metals market, as the region covers major aircraft fleet such as AIRBUS, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin across the globe. Growth of the fleet would directly increase the consumption of 3D printing metals. North America is followed by Asia Pacific and Europe. The global 3D printing metals market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to witness significant growth during the forecast period, owing to growth of the aerospace industry in this region. The global 3D printing metals market in other regions such as Latin America and Middle East & Africa is estimated to account for a relatively low share of the global 3D printing metals market from 2018 to 2026.

Global 3D Printing Metals Market: Key Players

Prominent companies operating in the global 3D printing metals market are 3D Systems Corporation, EOS GmbH Electro Optical Systems, Arcam AB, and Voxeljet AG.

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