The Bound Metal Additive Manufacturing Segment
Bound metal additive manufacturing technologies have gained considerable investor and end-user interest since early 2017 when front-runners like Markforged and Desktop Metal developed their flagship bound metal deposition printing technologies, known for being highly accessible. This quickly spawned increased awareness and interest in a long extant, but underutilized, combination of 3D printing technology with a classic metallurgical process commonly known as sintering. The “bound metal” additive manufacturing technology class ultimately evolved to include two primary printing processes sharing the common theme of joining metal powder together in a green state layer-by-layer, with the final metal part properties and fusion of the metal powder by the classic process of sintering using specialized furnaces.
Today, the bound metal printing segment is made up of two main sub-technologies: metal binder jetting and bound metal deposition. The two are related in the technical nature of their final-stage processing requirements, but each has a unique value proposition and market opportunity derived from the method used to turn metal powder into a geometrically complex green-state part.
SmarTech Analysis predicts that metal binder jetting systems will become the most productive of metal AM technologies in terms of sheer volume manufacturing potential. This will shift the initial hardware-centric opportunity for these systems to one driven by materials thanks to high per-machine consumption as these systems continue to commercialize. Meanwhile, bound metal deposition systems will serve primarily lower volume, in-house applications like prototyping and tooling, thus remaining a hardware-centric market opportunity throughout the next decade.
- Bound metal additive manufacturing is an emerging class of metal printing technologies made up of metal binder jetting and bound metal deposition systems, both of which create distinctly different market impacts
- Metal binder jetting technology is projected to become the most productive metal printing process for serial production, thus rapidly evolving from a hardware-centric opportunity to a material-centric one
- Bound metal deposition style systems will cede the majority of the bound metal market to metal binder jetting systems around 2022, but remain hardware driven
- Both technologies will provide significant market opportunities throughout the next decade in terms of both hardware and material sales worldwide