3D PRINTING OF METALS: THE NEW TREND
Great innovation, several advances, countless advantages: especially in recent years we have learned to appreciate 3D printing not only as a useful ally in the designing phase but also as a new milestone in the final production in multiple sectors. In fact, if plastic materials started bossing around in the field of prototyping, 3D printing of metals will allow this technology to fully enter in the manufacturing world to produce final parts.
Metals and healthcare, including dentistry, will be the trends in 3D printing throughout 2017. Biological materials for 3D bioprinting will follow on the heels, but not yet as it’s still in its early stages for the market.
Metals is certainly the segment in 3D printing materials with the fastest growth in terms of several forecasts including the one conducted by Additive Manufacturing Research, according to which additive manufacturing that employs the use of metals has an annual expected growth of 25%, considering that in 2016 over 1200 printing systems have been sold for a total revenue that exceeds $ 750 million. In this scenario the sale of 3D printers of metals will increase by 48%, while the market of materials and metal powders by 32% with a total market value of over $ 9 billion in 2026, according to IDTechEx.
To sectors such as aerospace, automotive, prosthetics and dental, 3D printing means great freedom of design, reduced assembly and simplified for greater precision, large-scale customization and minimal waste of material. And that’s why 3D printing is going to revolutionize manufacturing.
New processes and new acquisitions by these sectors will also result in a lowering of prices for metal powders used for Additive Manufacturing, which will bring this important segment of 3D printing to a significant positive boost and improvement of the systems towards more and more efficient production processes.