Aniwaa Unveils 2024 3D Printing Landscape

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France’s leading additive manufacturing (AM) marketplace, Aniwaa, released the 2024 version of its AM hardware map, showing 614 3D printer makers and their technologies. Incorporating over 100 updates based on community feedback, the map sheds light on the who’s who and the latest trends in the industry. With a new design, the infographic now includes a section for post-processing, highlighting 20 specialized manufacturers in this essential part of the AM ecosystem.

The AM industry is fragmented due to many different technologies and materials, each requiring specialized know-how. This diversity has led to a broad range of specialized solutions, making it difficult to navigate. Different manufacturers focus on unique areas such as polymer 3D printing, metal AM, and emerging technologies like composite 3D printing. Moreover, ongoing innovation and new startups have further diversified the market, with many small, specialized companies addressing niche applications. This broad range of specialties makes it hard for buyers and newcomers to compare and choose the technology they need.

Aniwaa’s complete infographic helps buyers navigate this complexity by categorizing manufacturers based on materials, technology, and specific market segments. Polymer 3D printers are the clear dominant technology here, accounting for 55% of all manufacturers. Material extrusion methods like filament, pellet, and liquid/gel continue to lead the market, pointing to the material’s popularity in the industry.

Key players in the filament segment include big names like Markforged, Creality, Prusa, and UltiMaker, which merged with MakerBot. Within the pellet-based extrusion section are companies such as AIM3D and Arburg, which are valued for their ability to use raw plastic pellets, which can help reduce material costs and use recycled plastics. Although significantly smaller, the liquid/gel extrusion category has companies like Lynxter and MVP creating technologies that work with flexible and bio-compatible materials, particularly expanding the universe of possible applications of AM into medical and wearables.

Also influential are metal AM technologies, representing 26% of manufacturers. Among the 157 manufacturers across 29 countries listed here, laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) technology constitutes 40% of metal AM manufacturers, down from 50% last year. In contrast, directed energy deposition (DED) is rising, representing 37% of metal AM equipment brands. DED is known for its ability to repair and add material to existing parts, making it ideal for maintenance and repair operations. Key players in this segment include companies like Optomec and Sciaky, which specialize in high-deposition rate systems suitable for large-scale metal parts.

Binder jetting is another growing technology within the metal sector due to its ability to produce complex metal parts quickly and cheaply. In this area, Aniwaa highlights companies like HP and 3DEO.

Another market segment Aniwaa has been watching closely is ceramic AM, which grew from 40 to 52 equipment manufacturers. It has added other up-and-coming technologies still in their early stages and has few competitors, like electronics, glass, wood, and biomass.

Geographically, the United States leads with 33 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), followed by Germany with 28 and China with 24. These countries account for over half of the global metal AM market. Europe, however, is a leading force with a total of 62 metal AM hardware manufacturers, compared to Asia’s 42 and the US’s 38.

One update to the infographic is the addition of a section dedicated to post-processing equipment. This area highlights 20 pure-play manufacturers offering solutions for powder handling, heat treatment, surface finishing, coloring, and more. It addresses a critical need in the AM industry, which is essential for finishing AM parts.

Companies like 3D Systems and Desktop Metal appear in multiple categories on the new infographic. For instance, 3D Systems is featured in powder bed fusion and material jetting. Desktop Metal is represented in binder jetting and material jetting. Markforged appears in high-precision metal printing under powder bed fusion and binder jetting. GE Additive (now rebranded as Colibrium Additive under the GE Aerospace umbrella) is noted in powder bed fusion (EBM and SLS) and DED thanks to its acquisition of Arcam and Concept Laser legacy brands, which will be retired soon.

While the infographic is comprehensive, it’s important to note that some companies listed have undergone significant changes. As mentioned above, GE Additive has been rebranded to Colibrium Additive. Although ExOne still appears as a standalone company, it was acquired by Desktop Metal. Similarly, Digital Metal, now part of Markforged, is also listed separately. Despite being shown individually in the infographic, Ultimaker and MakerBot now fall under the single brand of UltiMaker following their merger.

Aniwaa Co-founders Martin Lansard and Pierre Antoine Arrighi. Image courtesy of Aniwaa.

Aniwaa Founder Martin Lansard said, “We understand the challenges faced by buyers in navigating the complex additive manufacturing ecosystem. Our landscape infographic, combined with our digital catalogs, provides buyers with a comprehensive view of all active manufacturers and solutions in each market segment. These insights are invaluable in their journey to make informed purchasing decisions.”

Lansard also pointed out that he sees this landscape as a bit overcrowded and suggests it might not be sustainable for the industry. Still, Aniwaa’s latest AM hardware landscape infographic is an ideal forum to showcase the manufacturers in the AM industry. It helps buyers understand the market better and gain more clarity about the current state of the industry.

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