After initial commercialisation in the 1990s, metal additive manufacturing (also referred to as 3D printing of metals) has witnessed a flurry of interest in recent years. Key players have been quick to capitalise on this demand, enjoying exponential revenue growth since 2013 as a result.
This comprehensive technical report from IDTechEx gives the detailed status and outlook for the industry. Built upon an extensive history in the market and large number of primary interviews, this report provides an unbiased forecast for the market, including the significant impact from the COVID-19 pandemic which will be felt for years to come.
Granular forecasts and detailed player profiles
This report provides granular 10-year market forecasts for the industry. Targeted quantitative analysis is given for the printer technology, materials, and applications alike.
These forecasts are generated by the IDTechEx analyst team. The analysts go far beyond what is publicly available by conducting an extensive number of primary interviews, providing the latest and most important information to the reader. Over 50 company profiles are included as part of this report; this includes key OEMs, disruptive start-ups, incumbent powder providers, and emerging material companies.
The fall and rise of the metal additive manufacturing market. Metal Additive Manufacturing 2020-2030
Benchmarking the competitive printer processes
The proposed advantages to metal additive manufacturing are numerous with design freedom, local versatile manufacturing, potential cost savings, and much more.
To exploit this there is an ever-expanding family of printer processes using a wide number of material feedstocks. A common tactic for new entrants is to invent new terms for their technology to differentiate from the competition. Some of these are unique but most are aligned with existing processes, introducing only subtle variations.
This report cuts through this marketing and provides accessible impartial categorisation for the industry. The reality is that every process must compromise on something, be it the rate, price, precision, size, material compatibility, or more. IDTechEx provide critical benchmarking studies of these processes: an essential process for identifying gaps in the market and end-use applications.
There is also the learning curve to be considered. As with any new (primarily) B2B technology with a large price-tag, it will take time for end-users to have confidence in the process and value-add to warrant the investment. Powder bed fusion processes (DMLS and EBM) have been commercial for the longest time, which results this technology underpinning most installations. However, the next generation of technologies are gaining more traction and within the next decade a more diverse installation base will be observed.
There are some overarching trends for new entrants as they try to find gaps in the market. Low cost variants, printers pushing the size extremes from micro to very large scales, faster rates, and those exploiting alternative forms of feedstocks are all rapidly emerging and assessed.
Expanding material portfolio, capacity, and competition
IDTechEx forecast that the majority of the annual revenue will come from material demand rather than printer sales and installation. Every printer process and application have different material requirements, throughput rates, and alloy demands.
There is a large amount of movement in this industry with notable acquisitions, capacity expansions, improved atomisation processes, new materials, and cost reductions. Players are introducing material portfolios bespoke for additive manufacturing from well-known structural alloys to advanced options such as MMCs, high entropy alloys, and amorphous alloys.
Given the variation across this industry, there are very different forecasts when considering cost and volume; titanium powder will be the most significant which is again evident from the market dynamics of expansions, investments, vertical integration and exploring new avenues such as the use of scrap feedstocks.
Key markets and the impact of COVID-19
Metal additive manufacturing has been used for prototypes, tooling, replacement parts, and small to large manufacturing. There are multiple sectors in which this emerging technology is gaining significant uptake, including oil & gas, jewellery, and building & construction. By 2030, the three largest verticals are forecast to be aerospace & defense, medical & dental, and automotive, with latter only gaining notable traction at the tail-end of this period.
The growth and adoption have all been in high-value industry verticals and the long-term future looks very optimistic.
However, onset by the COVID-19 global pandemic, the industry will see a significant decline in 2020 with multiple years needed for recovery.
There are potential viewpoints that additive manufacturing has gained prominence during this pandemic, as manufacturers address vulnerabilities in their supply chain and capabilities have been demonstrated in essential circumstances (such as for the need of ventilator parts). Not to mention orders and investments have still been reported globally across 2020. However, this will not account for the impact to internal operations and end-users; aerospace being undeniably the most relevant sector impacted.
The fall will be dictated on the immediate-term by both internal and client operations coming to a standstill and in the short-to-mid-term by the impact on their prospective client base. IDTechEx forecast that material sales will "spring back" faster but printer sales will take longer as players tackle the social and economic fallout.
This market report gives granular forecasts for applications, technologies, and materials modelled for the impact of COVID-19.
Key questions that are answered in this report
- What are the current and emerging printer technology types?
- How do metrics such as price, build speed, build volume and precision vary by printer type?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of different 3D printing technologies?
- Which printers support different material classes?
- What is the current installed base of 3D printers?
- What is the price range of 3D metal printers by technology type?
- What are the market shares of those active in the market?
- What are the key drivers and restraints of market growth?
- Who are the main players and emerging start-ups?
- How will sales of different printer types evolve from 2019 to 2030?
- What is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?
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