In order to keep tabs on an industry seeing explosive growth, it’s critical to rely on the best sources available. Just launched in September, Additive Manufacturing Research has quickly become one of these go-to resources, as the team — with experience gleaned from significant experience with SmarTech Publishing — offers insights each month into aspects of the additive manufacturing industry, pointing out key trends and forecasts. AMR’s recently published bulletins for November again offer expert views, as the firm notes that their service is predicated on:
- Continuous market data and forecast updates
- Competitive analysis
- Identifying new potential profit opportunities
- Commitment to our subscribers’ success in additive manufacturing
Bulletins published in November offer insights into the key Metal and Polymer fields, with the briefs offering a look at the state of the industry as it stands presently. AMR’s lead analyst, Scott Dunham, has again shared insights into the latest reports with 3DPrint.com, and we are pleased to offer an overview with his commentary of these two areas that he notes are “generating big interest this month.”
Metal Additive Manufacturing
This month’s bulletin in metal takes a look at the outlooks for both hardware and materials in the metal segment. AMR points to a strong showing at formnext for metal additive manufacturing, a certainly noticeable trend at the large show, and looks to “exceptional annual growth for the fourth year in a row.” Metal technologies have been seeing unprecedented growth, with participants offering a quickly expanding array of available options.
“In November’s bulletin we’re reporting on our expectations for overall 2016 Metal AM hardware market growth based on ongoing reports from manufacturers around the industry,” Dunham tells us. “By nature of metal AM system sales across all relevant technologies, we’re expecting the industry to achieve around a 25 percent growth year over year, representing a fourth year of growth since the market’s ‘inflection point’ which we believe was in 2013. With estimates indicating more than 1,200 metal AM systems sold by the end of calendar 2016, that’s more than $750M in hardware revenues generated.”
While many of the participants in the metal segment are well-known names, AMR additionally notes the notable entry of additional providers that are set to impact the shape of the industry. Dunham remarks:
“Also represented in this growth trend for 2016 is an increasing percentage of those sales coming from a group of what we call ‘challengers,’ or providers of metal AM hardware whom are outside the top ten established providers of various metal AM technologies (or who we refer to as the ‘incumbents’). In 2016, we’re estimating that about 21 percent of the total unit sales of metal AM systems came from these challengers, and we are expecting this same group to have more of an impact next year as well. We expect that several groups who have typically performed very well will be challenged next year due to the buildup of hardware capacity in a time in which metal AM systems seem to be evolving significantly. This will create a tough selling environment for those companies whom have not yet begun making refinements to the capabilities of their systems with an eye towards more streamlined manufacturing applications for end use parts.”
On the materials side of the industry, AMR notes that we should ‘not overlook’ precious metals 3D printing in 2017. These materials may expand the reach of metal AM applications from the strongholds of aerospace, medical, and industry to more resoundingly encompass niche applications such as directly printed jewelry. Again, trends noted at formnext come into play here, as announcements of technologies and materials are set to lead to growth in several segments, consumer, industry, and electronics alike.
Polymer Additive Manufacturing
Again looking at both hardware and materials, AMR’s most recent bulletin on the polymer space notes both challenges and long-term growth potential in this space. Again with growth most notable for newer entrants to the market, the polymer side of this technology does still have some challenges to overcome following recent softening in the market. Dunham again fills 3DPrint.com in on some of the trends most recently seen for this segment, explaining:
“Similarly to our metal AM service, this month’s polymer AM market research service establishes expectations for 2016 annual market growth of professional non-metal additive manufacturing or 3D printing systems,” he says. “This segment of the market has been more challenged over the last two years than many years in recent memory, reminiscent perhaps of the 2008/2009 global economic slowdown which greatly affected the overall 3D printing market for a short period. At this stage, the challenges are associated with a chaotic competitive landscape with tons of new competition and development of new print processes in every possible direction, making it more complex for companies to develop and execute on AM/3DP strategies. In some ways, there are almost too many options to explore as many manufacturers are deciding how they can expand on their rapid prototyping efforts into more strategic manufacturing applications using polymer printing.”
In the bulletin, AMR points to several companies involved in the space that they see as having significant potential to impact the shape of this market. Again bolstered through announcements seen at formnext, AMR’s predictions draw from acquisitions and new products seen that are set to challenge more established players’ standing.
“This is evidenced by continued decline in hardware sales from both Stratasys and 3D Systems. However, we see the market continue to be buoyed by new entrants, and we think that the sheer volume of products now available in this segment continue to drive overall growth and create a very positive long term outlook. In particular, through 2020 we see increasing market growth (by measure of professional AM/3DP unit sales in the polymer/composite segment) returning to historically established levels of around 20 percent CAGR. This will be driven extensively by the polymer powder bed fusion and photopolymerization technology subsegments.”
On the materials side in polymers, AMR notes that “mechanically superior composites” are beginning to truly take center stage. AMR’s association with SmarTech allows for an in-depth view of and forecast for these materials. AMR additionally points to several key applications for composites and notes some of the specific reinforcements added to polymer materials that are driving demand.
The most recent bulletins from AMR again showcase the insights we can glean from the experienced team at AMR. Lead analyst Dunham’s commentary offers us a clearer picture as well of the shaping of the industry as we can expect to see it shape up.
We here at 3DPrint.com will continue to follow closely as AMR reveals each month’s biggest trends, keeping us up to the minute on the state of the additive manufacturing industry.