We now live in a world where information is at our fingertips at all times, with the latest headlines rarely farther away than the smartphones in our pockets. With this glut of information always available, the real question has become where to go to find the best information. We do our best here at 3DPrint.com to provide our readers with access to all the latest news and announcements directly from the source as often as possible, and just in September we introduced you to a new, valuable entity in this age of information as Additive Manufacturing Research launched. With the knowledge and experience of a highly respected analytical team from SmarTech Publishing powering it, AMR has already surged to the forefront of information in additive manufacturing, offering insights into the latest developments in and projections through its
- Metal Additive Manufacturing Market Research Service
- Polymer and Composite Additive Manufacturing Market Research Service
- Medical Additive Manufacturing Market Research Service
“AMR focuses on one thing – the additive manufacturing industry and its technologies, business models, competitors, and growth opportunities. We seek answers to questions in the most dynamic technology sector in the world,” the company describes its offerings.
AMR creates monthly reports in these three primary areas of focus, releasing 5-page service bulletins in each subscription topic. We are now privileged to share some of these insights with our readers each month, with commentary directly from lead analyst Scott Dunham to identify some of the major trends seen and analyzed in these reports.
Metal AM Service In the most recent research bulletin covering metal additive manufacturing, AMR takes an analytical look at one ongoing development that has been promising to reshape the industry: GE‘s acquisition dealings. This major story has been shaping up for some months now, as GE first proposed a $1.4 billion acquisition move for both SLM Solutions and Arcam, but had to change tactics following a thwarted takeover, setting its sights instead on Concept Laser and a share in Arcam.
“At this point, GE has successfully acquired Concept Laser and a majority share in Arcam,” Dunham tells 3DPrint.com. “I personally believe that purchasing Concept Laser rather than their previous rage SLM Solutions will turn out to be massively more beneficial for GE in the long term, because I believe that Concept Laser’s ‘Factory of Tomorrow’ concept is going to significantly impact the overall laser powder bed fusion market. It will be very interesting to see what type of integration of this concept that GE will be able to achieve in their various business units. Having development of the concept coupled with major user environments at a close level should yield rapid potential change in the market. Naturally, this will probably mean GE becomes one of the most advanced examples of utilizing a next generation additive manufacturing environment operating at full production scale, and that promises to be exciting.”
While GE’s involvement in additive manufacturing has certainly been one to follow for some time now, it is not the only entity that will be shaping the metal AM field. Developing technologies are beginning to play a larger role, along with newer players across the board. With partnerships and collaborations increasingly common, we are also seeing the potential for hybridization among complementary technologies.
“In addition to the GE activity, the rest of the bulletin highlights a continued diversification in metal additive manufacturing markets on the hardware side. Though the powder bed fusion segment is still the lintier of the market and is expected to remain so for some time, we’re seeing a lot of promising growth and market entry from players looking to integrate new concepts into the hardware side of things. Directed energy deposition, inkjet based methods, and new approaches to hybrids between several of these concepts all are more signs that the industry has a lot of growing left to do. Again, very exciting. 2017 is looking to be a year unlike any other,” Dunham explains.
Polymer AM Service In this month’s bulletin service featuring the latest analysis on the polymer front, AMR takes a look at the demand for and development of materials in 3D printing applications across the board. From process development and a comparison of pellet versus filament polymers to a specific look at silicone 3D printing — which has certainly been seeing some key developments recently — AMR’s look at polymers examines the potential for end-part production. AMR additionally takes a look at hardware, including that from Ultimaker and MarkForged, as well as new specialized manufacturing-grade polymers from such companies as HP/Evonik and Keyence. These major trends in materials allow for a deeper understanding of the broad potential that additive manufacturing offers, as the industry moves more toward final part manufacturing. Dunham tells us:
“From this issue I think perhaps the most interesting point is regarding the overall market’s growing appetite for diverse manufacturing materials on the polymer side as the transition towards end use part manufacturing continues. In particular, the response that we have observed in regards to silicone 3D printing over the last year has been immense, surpassing even our own expectations in that area. There are an amazing number of specialty processes either in development or early commercialization for silicone based 3D printing today, most of which are utilizing their own special materials, but some of which are utilizing more commodity silicone materials. That’s encouraging for a huge number of potential applications. We’ll probably see an increasing focus on development of processes for very specific materials with big industrial applications over the next several years, which further shows the industry is interested in not just prototyping (where diverse material compatibility is valued) but also manufacturing (where processes matched to specific output types often provide the best results for end use parts).”
Medical/Dental AM Service The third service bulletin from AMR focuses on an area of application with wide-reaching implications that could truly benefit humanity, as additive manufacturing serves the medical and dental fields. With the precision possible thanks to 3D technologies, the medical/dental arena is truly benefiting from digital workflow. With bioprinting from Organovo and investment into Carbon playing key roles in the most recent bulletin here, AMR introduces readers to several key developments. Organovo’s ExVive kidney tissue offers unprecedented potential for research in human tissues, while Carbon’s photopolymerizaton methods produce fine-feature capabilities valued throughout health-related fields, as evidenced by their recent Series C investment. 3D technologies additionally come into play in dentistry, with companies such as EnvisionTEC putting their efforts toward this market to great effect.
“We’re really excited about the dental market for 3D printing over the next decade, as evidenced by the content in the bulletin,” Dunham tells us. “The dental industry as a whole is really starting to embrace 3D printing for lots of applications beyond just the investment casting of various metal dental restorations. What is driving our now increased ten year projections is a nearly inevitable transition towards permanent/directly printed dental devices and restorations. Some examples are directly printed clear aligners (rather than printed aligner forming tools used in a secondary forming process), longer term temporary crowns and bridges trending towards simply permanent solutions, and more. Combined with the new activities around printed oral therapy devices for treating sleep apnea using titanium, and there’s a whole lot going on in dentistry for 3D printing that we are optimistic about.”
These developments are all gone into in greater detail in the subscription bulletins from Additive Manufacturing Research. I found these to be very enlightening reads, with the analytical insights offering a look beyond the veil of most headlines. In addition to the monthly reports, subscribers to AMR’s services receive unlimited consulting time with market analysts. For more details, or to subscribe to AMR’s services, see their website.
Discuss in the AMR forum at 3DPB.com.