Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Hybrid Manufacturing: Opportunities for Additive Manufacturing and CNC Companies

ST Medical Devices

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Hybrid Manufacturing Markets: Opportunities for Additive Manufacturing and CNC Companies”, a new report from SmarTech Analysis, digs down into the market for hybrid manufacturing systems, which combine AM with subtractive manufacturing on a single platform. Hybrid machines are typically large-format machines utilizing high-volume additive processes such as DED and WAAM. But there are PBF and even FDM hybrids too.

This new SmarTech report shows how the market for hybrid manufacturing machines is driven by both their multi-functionality and their promise of cost-effectiveness.  Hybrids can enable repairs of parts, process hard-to-cut, and high-hardness materials, and also provide post-processing capabilities. Some hybrids can also print multiple materials in one build. With regard to cost-effectiveness, there are potential cost savings on hardware and operational cost improvements through less need to move the part in process.

In the report SmarTech estimates that hybrid printers will generate $155 million in sales in 2019, growing to $424 million by 2025. Materials (mostly metals) consumed by hybrid machines will reach $24 million in 2019. By 2025, materials usage by hybrids will have grown to over $240 million. 

“We believe the hybrid manufacturing business is a sizeable opportunity not just for firms that make big AM machines, but also for companies whose home is in the CNC space,” says Lawrence Gasman, President of SmarTech Analysis and author of the report.  “Our market estimates, seem to confirm this belief. The AM market continues to grow faster than the CNC business, so is an attractive opportunity for the machine tool firms,” continues Gasman.

The Mazak INTEGREX i-400 AM combines a five axis machining with laser cladding.

Among the firms with roots in CNC that have entered the hybrid business are Diversified Machine Systems, DMG Mori, ELB-Schliff, Hermle, Ibarmia, Mazak, Mitsui Seiki, Okuma, and WFL Millturn.  The hybrid activities of all of these firms are profiled in the SmarTech study along with profiles of long-time AM firms who now offer hybrids, such as GE Additive,  Matsuura, Optomec, OR Laser and Trumpf. 

The report also notes that hybrid manufacturing is dominated by aerospace applications.  For example, according to press reports, GE is planning to utilize hybrid manufacturing for the production of 25,000 LEAP engine nozzles. However, hybrid is moving into other areas including automotive, oil and gas, construction and even the medical and dental sectors. In oil and gas, for example, hybrid technologies could serve to provide efficient on-demand manufacturing in remote locations—such as ocean-based oil and gas extraction platforms.  According to the SME organization about 6 percent of all medical 3D printing already uses hybrid machines and the SmarTech report provides some examples of where this is already happening.

Of course, as SmarTech points out in its report, hybrid manufacturing is not for everyone and there are limits to the hybrid manufacturing market.  For example, some potential users are put off by the fact that the additive and subtractive feature of the hybrid machines do not work simultaneously, which some regard as an important inefficiency.  Other detractors point to the fact that special training is frequently required for the operators of hybrid machines. Learn more here

For more details contact: Rob Nolan [email protected]

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