According to the “3D Printing of Metals 2015 – 2025” report by market research company IDTechEX, metals are the fastest-growing segment of 3D printing.
The report outlines 3D printer sales growing at 48% and material sales at 32% for the segment. Although plastics are mainly used for prototyping and in education, metals enable to manufacture final parts for a whole range of industries.
While aerospace and the biomedical sector have been among the earliest adopters, many other industries have startet to incorporate metal 3D printing into their processes, including automotive, other medical and dental sectors or jewellers for example.
The report gives some examples on companies already applying the technology to a high degree. GE Aviation is investing $ 3.5 billion in a new plant to house EOS printers to produce 100,000 fuel nozzles and Arcam has already manufactured over 50,000 orthopaedic implants up to date. Siemens uses 3D printing to produce parts of their gas turbines while NASA plans to 3D print 80 to 100% of their rocket engines.
Among the materials with the highest demand are titanium alloys with a market share of 31%, followed by cobalt, nickel and aluminium alloys.
The full report is available here.