This article by AM Chronicle elaborates on the landscape of the metal AM technology, and highlights the major companies associated with the technology, the market share, and growth opportunities.
Metal additive manufacturing (AM) has tremendous potential to fulfill the current industrial needs. The technology has grown from a concept to advanced machines that can develop highly complex components. The market size of the metal AM is also expanding rapidly with new technologies and companies investing in the sector.
This article by AM Chronicle elaborates the landscape of the metal AM technology, and it shares highlights of the companies associated with the technology, the market share, and growth opportunities.
Categorization of Metal Additive Manufacturing Technologies
Material extrusion or fused deposition modeling is the method that is commonly associated with polymer printing, but the recent development in the technology has enabled metal AM with the help of the material extrusion process. In this method, metal power with polymer material is extorted on the print bed, and the printed product undergoes post-processing methods to develop the finished product. The polymer materials generally used PLA or ABS with aluminum, copper, iron, or brass powders. The main application of this method is in-circuit fabrication and areas in which higher thermal conducting material is required.
Powder Bed Fusion Technology
The power bed fusion technology covers the majority of the market share of metal AM. The laser selects metal power on the print bed to develop the finished product in this method. Commonly, the process is classified into four types: direct metal laser sintering, selective laser melting, electron beam melting, and direct metal laser melting. The methods are selected based upon the metal needed to be printed and the accuracy of the printed part required.
Direct Energy Deposition
In direct energy deposition, thermal energy sources selectively melt the feedstock. The melted feedstock is deposited on the print bed and solidified. Further, the layer-by-layer solidification ensures that the part is printed per the given commands. The standard processes used in direct energy deposition are electron beam additive manufacturing, wire and arc additive manufacturing (WAAM), wire-based Joule printing, laser-engineered net shaping, laser cladding, and hybrid systems.
The other method included in the direct energy deposition is blown power technology, unlike other metal AM methods, which depend on the power bed. In this method, metal powder and laser are targeted on the print bed to develop highly accurate parts. This method is classified into ten types: laser metal deposition, laser solid forming, direct laser metal deposition, direct laser deposition, direct light fabrication, laser deposition welding, powder fusion welding, directed light fabrication, electron beam direct manufacturing, and direct metal tooling. The main advantage of blown power technology is its high accuracy, reduction in heat-affected zones, and ability to fix with the robotic arms.
Binder jetting is used to print resins with metal particles that range from micro-scale. In this process, an industrial printhead selectively deposits a liquid binding agent onto a thin layer of powder particles. It is used for stainless steel, Inconel, and aluminum alloy-based photopolymers.
Material Jetting (MJ) is the process in which droplets of build and support materials are selectively jetted onto the build platform and cured by either ultraviolet light or heat to form a 3D object. The method is used for nano-scale metal AM and provides a high level of surface finish. The main limitation of this method is that it is limited to the small size of the printed part and the mechanical properties are limited.
Other new technologies out of the scope of the classic ASTM categorization of Additive Manufacturing:
Additive Friction Stir Energy Deposition
This process is similar to the forging process in which metal feed at elevated temperature undergoes a physical deformation to achieve desired shape and size. Compared to other metal AM methods, this method eliminates the need to change metal into a liquid state. The method is yet under development and not yet used widely in industrial application.
Liquid Metal Printing
As per the definition of ASTM, liquid metal printing is defined as a “process in which droplets of build material are selectively deposited” onto a substrate. The main benefits of the liquid metal printing is that non-weldable metals can also be 3D printed using this technology and do not require high power lasers.
Landscape Of the Metal AM
The following table summarizes the landscape of the metal AM and classifies the companies (not exhaustive) based upon the technology in which the metal AM companies are engaged.
|Material Extrusion||Fused Deposition Modeling
|Ultimaker, Aleph Objects, 3Dgence, XYZ Printing, Desktop Meta, RepRap, Zortrax, Perfect Laser, Builder 3D Printers, RE:3D, Xioneer systems, Tiwari Scientific Instruments, Epeired, Triditive, Metallum 3d, Pollen, Hage 3D, Aim 3D, Xerion, Rapidia, Evo-tech, CLO, Markforged|
|Bound Powder Extrusion||Desktop Metal|
|Powder Bed Fusion||Direct Metal Laser Sintering||3D Systems, Renishaw, Concept Laser (GE Additive), EOS, DMG Mori
SLM Solutions, Xact Metal,3Dprotofab, Raycham, RAM3D
Arcam (GE Additive), Wayland, Jeol, Freemelt, HBD , AM Pro Innovation, Admatec, Incus, Exaddom, Exone, Probeam, Spee3d, Titomic, Chiron, Romi, Form Alloys, Laster Melting Innovation, Intech Additve Solutions, Addup, Ricoh, Meta-additive, Desktop Metal, Mitsubishi, Hermle, Plasma, 3D hybrid System, Prima additive, open additive, Micromax, Dedibot, Simma, HP, Easymfg, 3DED, Tritone, Relizer, adsol, Meltronic, Aconity, alkimat, aurora labs, Beam, Trumpf, Mazak, Melito, DMGMORI, Laser add,Sugino, Formalloy, Iberia, Hybrid Manufacturing, Headmade materials, Wayland Additive, Sailong metal beam, Amoera, E-plus 3D, Alphalaser, BLT, Tangta, Vancantech, Ermaksan, CTC
|Selective Laser Melting|
|Electron Beam Melting|
|Direct Metal Laser Melting
Mould Surry Deposition
Area wise Metal Laser Beam Power Fusion
Powder Spray Laser Energy Deposition
|Directed Energy Deposition||Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing||Spee3D
Prodways, Gefertec, Glenalmond Technologies, Norsk Titanium AS
Additec, Formalloy, InssTek, Digital Alloys
Laser Cladding Technologies, Laserline, Preconic
Ambit Technology, Mazak, ELB, BFW Technologies, Probeam, DMAMS, Evocam, Sciaky, Xbeam, MX3D, Lincoln Electric, ProCada, Chiron, Precitec, 3d hybrid solution, Melito, SBI additive, WAAM, ADDILAN, AML3D, Frronius
|Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing|
|Laser Metal Deposition|
|Wire-based Joule printing Digital Alloys Technology|
|Laser Consolidation Additive Manufacturing|
|Wire Plasma Arc Energy Deposition|
|Material Jetting||NanoParticle Jetting||Xjet, nanogrande|
|Binder Jetting||Binder Jetting
Hybrid Binder Jetting
|Desktop Metal, ExOne, Digital Metal, HP|
|Additive Friction Stir Energy Deposition||Additive Friction Stir Energy Deposition||MELD, Weisser|
|Liquid Metal Printing||Liquid Metal Printing||Xerox, Grob, ValCUN|
Market Share and analysis of The Various Metal Additive Technologies
Metal AM technology is one of the fastest-growing areas of additive manufacturing and an essential part of Industry 4.0. According to a study, the metal AM market will value USD 7.19 billion and demonstrate a CAGR of 21.94% during 2021-2025. But, the market is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the current Russia-Ukraine war. The rise in market uncertainty will affect growth and development and may also slow down due to entropy in the European market.
The primary application of the metal AM parts is the industrial machine sector, which accounts for 20% of the total market share, according to a study published in 2020. The other two sectors are automotive and aerospace, which have 38% of the market. It can be estimated that the rising demand for lightweight alloys and materials is one of the key reasons for such a significant market share. The other sectors include military, medical, architecture, and consumer products. The market share in these sectors is also likely to grow in the coming decade.
Based on the methods, the powder bed fusion technology owns a significant market share. The technique is widely used to develop industrial components based upon metal AM. Additionally, the majority of companies trade in powder bed fusion technology. The other significant market share method is material binder jetting and direct energy deposition. Both of the processes combined have a market share of 32%. Other methods such as material extrusion, VAT Photopolymerization, lamination also share market share in industrial metal AM.
To summarize, the business of metal AM is constantly growing, and new technologies as per needs of the industry are being developed with support from research and development activities. The next few years will be interesting to see how Metal Additive Manufacturing technologies overcome existing industrial challenges and increase cost effectiveness and reliability.
Vafadar, A., Guzzomi, F., Rassau, A., and Hayward, K., 2021. Advances in metal additive manufacturing: a review of standard processes, industrial applications, and current challenges. Applied Sciences, 11(3), p.1213.
Frazier, W.E., 2014. Metal additive manufacturing: a review. Journal of Materials Engineering and performance, 23(6), pp.1917-1928.
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