It’s not often that we discuss what happens behind the scenes in 3D printing. With so many exciting innovations to discuss on a daily basis, from completely 3D printed rocket engines to 3D printed cadavers, the nuts and bolts–and the materials–very often take a back seat. And that’s why we take precious time out today to discuss an informative report on the rising use of particular gases in 3D printing technology. Before the “huh?” even exits your mouth, let us explain.
First of all, the use of gas at your desktop 3D printer is not going to come into play here–as far as we know–but for the industrial scene, gases such as argon actually are commonly used to create a unique and perfect environment for SLS printing. And while metal 3D printing may present challenges in creating the optimum and controlled environment, there are also numerous options, such as nitrogen, argon, and varying combinations.
The goal of the manufacturer is to produce products that are pure and without contaminating particles of any sort. To see that happen, high-quality, pure gases must be used–with argon being most commonly preferred to eliminate oxidation and numerous reactions, as well as serving as the foundation for high-performance blends. Nitrogen can be helpful also, with the same benefits, and is more affordable.
Both of these gases are expected to be part of a growing industry, according to a recent report, ‘3D Printing Gases Market by Type (Argon, Nitrogen), Technology (Stereo lithography, Laser Sintering, Poly-Jet), Storage & Distribution (Cylinder, Merchant Liquid, Tonnage), Function (Insulation, Illumination, Cooling), End User (Design & Manufacturing, Healthcare) – Forecast to 2020’ by MarketsandMarkets (M&M), one of the leaders in producing market research. Their latest numbers show that the market for 3D printing gases is estimated to grow from USD 26.92 Million in 2015 to USD 45.12 Million by 2020, showing a compound annual growth rate of 10.88%.
Not surprisingly, these numbers for the 3D printing gases market show a rapid growth that is directly in line with the sweeping global growth of the industry itself. Obviously, as production of industrial 3D printed components increases, so does the need for those gases, and mixtures thereof. Looking at 2014 for their study, M&M is projecting a market size from end of this year through 2020, examining factors that will drive the industry such as further industrialization, changing technology, and innovation and increased demand in the medical sector.
3D printing technologies considered are:
- Laser Sintering
- Poly-Jet Technology
- Others, such as binder-jetting technology, electron beam melting, and fused disposition modeling
Using ‘key vendor’ revenue data as well as considering their offerings, M&M was ultimately able to arrive at their findings by estimating market size. Key vendors, along with others, were considered to be:
- BASF SE (Germany)
- The Linde Group (Germany)
- Air Liquide SA (France)
- Praxair Inc. (US)
- Air Products and Chemicals Inc. (US)
“… the total market was split into several segments and subsegments, which were then verified through primary research by conducting extensive interviews with key people such as CEOs, VPs, directors, and executives,” states the M&M team, regarding their report. “These data triangulation and market breakdown procedures were employed to complete the overall market engineering process and arrive at the exact statistics for all segments and subsegments.”
With argon–and then gas mixtures–expected to play the largest role, M&M’s research projects the most substantial increase to be in design and manufacturing, with:
- Health care
- Consumer products
- Aerospace & defense
- Education & research sectors
While it’s expected that North America will garner the largest market share, M&M projects that Europe will actually be growing at the fastest rate for usage of gases. The largest market share within the gases market for 3D printing, however, is estimated to be the cylinder and packaged gas distribution mode. Most commonly preferred by suppliers, it’s also safer and more affordable, posing an obvious win all around. With that form of packaging, suppliers can allow for smaller amounts of gases to be distributed, as well.
M&M produces over 400 syndicated studies every year, and offers high-level analysis and market data for segments such as technologies, services, and applications for major geographies. Publishing premium reports, they serve 1700 global fortune enterprises with more than 1200 premium studies in a year, catering to a multitude of clients across eight different industrial verticals. Give us your thoughts on this report in the 3D Printing Gases forum thread on 3DPB.com.