Interview With SmarTech’s Scott Dunham on the Additive Manufacturing Metal Powders Research

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For the past five years, Scott Dunham has been preparing the Additive Manufacturing with Metal Powders Report for SmarTech. SmarTech, part-owned by 3DPrint.com, is the only analysis and research firm that is focused on the Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing market. With the release of the new Additive Manufacturing with Metal Powders Report, we thought we’d delve into the report to share some of Scott’s findings and methodologies.

The report focuses on Powder Bed Fusion, Directed Energy Deposition, and Binder Jetting metals. It goes into the major players in each segment and catalogs mayor market events over the past year. Another section looks at standards formation, M&A activity as well as investments and things such as VC activity. It catalogs leading companies in metal printing and looks at the overall competitive landscape. It delves deeper at industrial use of metal 3D printing and looks at key trends in the industry. Through interviews and surveys, industry participants help identify key trends in the industry. 

Things such as customer openness, competency, and spare parts are some of the elements the report looks at more in-depth. Things such as the industrialization of Powder Bed Fusion, increases in machine costs, process parameters, and market share are shared. For Directed Energy Deposition things such as the repair market, adding other AM processes to DED business units and segmentation are looked at. The growth in the binder jetting part of the market is revealed. Trends and drivers in metal powders are cataloged as well. Sales channels for powder, demand for custom alloys, and long term supply are discussed. The overall market growth in 2018 is shared, as are the differences across regions and new developments.

Scott says that the primary audience for this report is “business unit or business line managers of companies in metal powders or machine OEMs, or those companies that wish to enter the market. Consultancy firms, analysts, financial analysts, and business development people also make up a strong contingent of customers. One surprisingly large group of customers is researchers at research institutes and universities.”

Different customers have different motivations for buying the report. With prices starting at $5000 a copy it often requires a degree of interest or investment in 3D printing metals to consider it.

“Researchers and academics, for example, will use it to identify problems that do not yet have solutions or where adequate solutions have not yet been commercialized. For startups, it is used by the whole team to validate business cases and plans. For large teams at industrials or other multinationals, the entire product team would get a license to accompany their evaluation of the market. A business unit leader elsewhere may be very interested in drivers, market outlook, and developments. Consultants will use the report to get up to speed on 3D printing in relevant client engagements. OEMs and powder companies like to be abreast of the latest developments but also use it to benchmark themselves, measure unit performance, establish performance goals, and goal setting.”

Scott considers the Fifth Additive Manufacturing Metal Powders report to be a “full resource on metal additive manufacturing.”

“As per all of the powder based technologies, we provide a guide and detailed analysis based on dozens of interviews and many more surveys of market participants. Why should you trust us? We were the first to offer a market research report focused on powder processes. Over the five years, we’ve refined it, learned and sifted through a lot of data to make it more accurate and usable for customers. At SmarTech, we only do Additive Manufacturing; for us, this is not a part-time thing, but a complete focus for us as a business. This lets us build up and sharpen our knowledge. The effect is that our reports gain in useful information and in depth. The specific expertise and research we do let us make a more solid report than other firms that may have the same people cover IoT, the cloud, or other subjects. Additive Manufacturing is a fast growing, very competitive industry that deserves full time committed analysts, not tourists.”

With regards to specific trends Scott points out a “few soft last quarters” that are due to many factors, but one is the increasing complexity of implementations while others is a gulf between what is promised and what is achievable.

“The promise and hype of binder jetting has also given some customers some pause with powder bed fusion implementations. The landscape can be very confusing for new market entrants, and some decisions are tough to make and require technical expertise and understanding that new entrants often don’t have.”

He goes on to say, “the market is strengthening this quarter, and we are seeing a rapid rate of change in the industry.” Interested? Download the SmarTech Additive Manufacturing with Metal Powders report here.

3DPrint.com is part owner of SmarTech.

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