Metal 3D Printing Market COVID Impact, Trends Analysis Report 2025

Posted by BIS RSRCH on April 26th, 2021

Metal 3D printing has been one of the emerging markets in the modern world with a considerable contribution to the global gross domestic product (GDP). The growing adoption, especially in the aerospace and defense, followed by medical and healthcare, has led to the growth of this industry. For instance, in the aerospace sector, Boeing has started using titanium parts for its structural components in its Dreamliner 787 aircraft, supplied by Norsk Titanium. Another aviation giant, GENERAL ELECTRIC, has started using 3D printed cobalt-chrome fuel nozzles for its Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion (LEAP) aircraft engines. In medical and healthcare, products such as dental frameworks, bio-implants, and surgical instruments are developed through metal 3D printing. Some of the companies involved in the metal 3D printing of medical equipment are Renishaw plc, Materialise, INCREDIBLE AM PVT LTD., 3D HUBS B.V., and 3D Systems, Inc. The automotive industry has witnessed an entry-level adoption of metal 3D printing, particularly at the prototype stage. For instance, BUGATTI AUTOMOBILES S.A.S. has been using 3D printed titanium for its brake caliper in its Bugatti Chiron supercar.

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However, there are certain regulatory bodies which have set some standards for the metal 3D printed objects, such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International, the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the MATERIAL MEASUREMENT LABORATORY at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Standards Council of Canada. For instance, ASTM International has proposed a standard F3303 which addresses methods of qualifying processes and 3D printers, which are utilized for the development of parts using laser or electron beam powder bed fusion. Another standard F3318 has been developed by the ASTM International, which is addressed for supporting 3D printed parts of aluminum alloys on powder bed fusion based on a laser.

In addition to the general laser or electron beam powder bed fusion metal 3D printing, there has been an introduction of high-power light emitting diodes (LEDs) as a replacement of lasers (SLM) and electron beams (EBM), thus the process gaining a name as Selective Light Emitting Diode Melting (SLEDM). The technology has been developed at Graz University of Technology, Austria, and has been applied for a patent. The incorporation of high-power LEDs toward the powder-bed fusion process has reduced the time consumption for producing large-volume metal components and manual post-processing.

Based on different technologies adopted toward metal 3D printing, it has been categorized as powder-bed fusion, binder jetting, extrusion, direct energy deposition (DED), lamination, and resin-based processes. Among these, the adoption of powder-bed fusion has been the highest globally, primarily due to the economic behavior and easier handling of the metal powders producing 3D printed metal objects/parts with high dimensional accuracy.

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The technology has been witnessing adoption in various end-use industries, such as aerospace and defense, medical and healthcare, automotive, and other general engineering applications (tool and die and construction). Among these, the maximum adoption has been witnessed toward the aerospace and defense sector mainly due to the ability of the process of producing highly complex-shape objects of aircraft (engines and structural components) in quick time with high dimensional accuracy. This is followed by the medical and healthcare segment, which has been utilizing the technology for developing bio-implants and various surgical instruments. In the automotive sector, the adoption has been limited to the prototyping stage for producing certain specific parts for high-end vehicles. Using this technology for mass production of automobile parts is unviable at the moment as the technology adds to the cost of production, which ultimately has a direct impact on the pricing of the automobiles, affecting the buying capacity of the general masses.

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Joined: March 5th, 2020
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