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Quick Hits From SmarTech’s Latest Metal Powder Additive Manufacturing Report

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1) The metal powder additive manufacturing industry’s structure continues to become more complex with new processes and competitors.  The recent surge in interest and commercial activity in support of new and existing bound metal printing technologies is establishing a third major commercial area of opportunity alongside powder bed fusion and directed energy deposition systems. This will greatly enhance the applicability of metal AM as a whole across new industry segments and applications, but will also greatly increase the complexities of implementation from an end user perspective due to the need to match potential applications with ideal print technologies

2) The competitive structure of the market, which has already undergone great change in the last twelve months, is expected to shift even more with the impending market entry of both HP and Stratasys into the metals segment over the next two years. This will help continue to bring metal AM to the forefront of the digital manufacturing revolution, with numerous enterprise level multi-billion dollar companies now investing into its future. The largest providers in the industry may increase their efforts in becoming experts in multiple established print technologies to serve a wide array of potential customers, rather than specializing in a single process

3) Additive manufacturing will continue to become a larger and larger part of the global metal powder and powder metallurgy supply chain and structure. This will continue to benefit the AM community through additional funding and research initiatives into AM processes.

4) Metal powder additive manufacturing industry growth during 2017 started off sluggish, but rebounded quite well in the second half of the year in terms of both hardware and unit sales. Unit sales were partially driven by demand for Desktop Metal’s new Studio printer that costs around $50,000, while revenues grew stronger than expected thanks to the demand for multi-laser, highly productive next generation laser powder bed fusion systems

5) The metal powder additive manufacturing industry is now entering a period of stronger growth forecasted through 2020 compared to 2016/2017’s performance. This will see double-digit growth rates in both hardware revenues and resulting material shipments on the order of 30 to 50 percent annually.