August 13, 2015
The future of 3D printing will be tied to the success of printing with metal. According to a new report, “3D Printing of Metals: 2015-2025,” from Research and Markets and IDTechEx, metals are the fastest growing segment of 3D printing, with printer sales growing at 48% and material sales growing at 32%.
“Building metal parts is the only way 3D printing can become productive,” the company said in a release. “Plastic 3D printing has its place in prototyping and education, but 3D printing in metal will allow the technology to be used to manufacture final production parts in a wide variety of industries.”
Because of speed, size and cost limitations, high-value, low-volume applications such as aerospace and biomedical have been the earliest adopters. Those industries have claimed a 31% by volume market share in the titanium alloy space. Aerospace is also heavily investing in cobalt alloys, nickel alloys and aluminium alloys, according to the report.
Jewelers have gravitated to SLM technologies, and the jewelry industry is driving 3D printing in precious metals, with gold powder having a 49% market share by revenue. Other leading adopters of 3D metal printing include dental suppliers, power generation companies and NASA.
The report includes a detailed breakdown by company and technology of worldwide 3D printer sales during 2014 and the installed base at the end of 2014.