Pricing, properties and projections for materials including photopolymers, thermoplastics and metal powders
3D printing is currently the subject of a great deal of speculation and excitement in the media. Touted as the technology to bring about the next industrial revolution and the in-sourcing of manufacturing jobs back to the West, the term in fact refers to a raft of technologies each of which is compatible for use with a particular material type.
In fact the materials market for 3D printing is possibly the most contentious issue in the 3D printing industry today. 3D printer manufacturers are increasingly engaging in practices which are perceived by end-users as anti-competitive by locking customers in to their own materials supplies via key-coding and RFID tagging of material cartridges, an activity which is effectively enabling monopoly pricing of the materials concerned.
Development of new materials for 3D printing is hindered by the practice of lock-in by some 3D printer manufacturers. Barriers to entry for 3rd party materials suppliers are high, and those who do enter the market are unable to get the economies of scale required to accelerate both materials development and progress towards a competitive market.
In the short to mid-term, downwards pressure on materials prices will be driven mainly by new entrants to the 3D printer manufacture arena that do not engage in lock-in practices and enable customers to source materials from the supplier(s) of their choice, and also by pressure from large end-users wielding buying power to force prices down.
This report gives forecasts to 2025 for the following materials supplies:
- Thermoplastics in solid form (ie. filaments and pellets)
- Thermoplastics in powder form
- Metal powders
- Powder-bed inkjet powders
SWOT analyses in each class are given and end-user requirements detailed.
Materials in development but not yet commercial, which research is mainly taking place in universities, are also discussed.
The market for photopolymers will retain the largest single segment of the market through to 2025 although the other materials markets will gain market share in terms of tons produced driven largely by the move away from prototyping/tooling applications towards final product manufacture.
Highest growth will be seen in the market for metal powders, although production, currently placed at less than 30 tons/year, will remain relatively low. This, in combination with high raw material and processing prices, will combine such that prices for these materials will fall more slowly than for alternative 3D printing materials. Market growth in a business-as-usual scenario when lock-in remains common practice and prices remain high will be steady.
However, extensive interviews with both materials developers and end-users indicate that prices are falling. This will modulate growth of the market size even as mass production increases in line with the growth of the cumulative installed base.
Further, for any given material class, market size (in terms of $M) is more sensitive to the installed base of the corresponding 3D printer technology than to the actual price of the materials themselves. Should material prices increase, only a small reduction in the average utilisation rate of the printer installed base is required for the market size to actually fall as a result.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Executive Summary
1.1. Total Market of 3D Printing Industry
1.2. 3D Printing Materials
1.3. Markets for 3D Printing
1.4. Value Network
1.5. State of the Market
1.6. Materials' Market Separated by Material
2.1. 3D Printing is...
2.2. A brief history of 3D Printing
3. Key Advantages of 3D Printing
3.1. The key advantages of 3D printing are...
3.2. Examples of designs not possible suing traditional manufacturing
3.3. Examples of products which benefit from mass customisation
4. Overview of 3D Printing Technologies
4.1. A review of technologies
4.2. Thermoplastic extrusion
4.3. Stereolithography (SLA) and Direct Light Polymerisation (DLP)
4.4. Ink-jetting Photopolymers
4.5. Summary of plastic printing
4.6. SLS, SLM and EBM
4.9. Summary of metal printing
4.10. Ink-jetting binders
5. Materials Overview
5.1. A review of materials
5.3. Applications of 3D printed photopolymers
5.4. Acrylates vs epoxies
5.5. Photopolymer suppliers
5.6. Properties of commercially available photopolymers
5.7. Thermoplastic filament
5.8. Applications of 3D printed thermoplastic filament
5.9. Thermoplastic filament suppliers
5.10. Polymers available from thermoplastic filament suppliers
5.11. Properties of objects 3D printed from thermoplastic filament
5.12. Chemical suppliers to thermoplastic filament formulators
5.13. Thermoplastic powders
5.14. Applications of 3D printed thermoplastic powders
5.15. Thermoplastic powder suppliers
5.16. Polymers offered by thermoplastic powders suppliers
5.17. Comparison of 3D printed thermoplastic powders
5.18. Metal powders
5.19. Applications of 3D printed metal powders
5.20. Metal powder suppliers
5.21. Alloys available from metal powder suppliers
5.22. Sand and binder
5.23. Welding wire
5.24. Application of 3D printed welding wire
6. Emerging Materials
6.3. Carbon fibre
6.4. Electrically conductive materials
7. Disruptive Technologies
7.1. Thermoplastic recycling
7.3. Selective Deposition Lamination (SDL)
8. Patents and Publications
8.2. Publication trends
9.1. Growth share matrix
9.2. Hype cycle
10. Value Chains
10.1. Value network
10.2. The two value chains
10.3. Three behaviours of thermoplastic filament consumption
10.5. Price trends of free market materials
10.6. Value chain picture (in USD)
10.7. Value chain picture (in tonnes)
11. State of the Market
11.1. State of the market (in USD)
11.2. State of the market (in tonnes)
11.3. Geographic breakdown of materials' sales
11.5. Methods and assumptions
12. Forecasts 2015-2025
12.1. Total market for 3D printing industry
12.3. Materials market separated by material (in USD)
12.4. Share of market value by material in 2014 and 2025
12.5. Materials market forecast separated by material (in tonnes)
12.6. Growth rate by region
12.8. Methods and assumptions
13.1. Start-ups, mergers, acquisitions and closures
14. Limitations and Restraints
14.1. Current limitations
14.2. Links to other technologies
15. Profiles of 3D Materials' Suppliers
15.4. TLC Korea
15.7. Oxford Perfomance Materials
15.8. Taulman 3D
15.10. Cookson Gold
15.15. Fripp Design
16. Profiles of End-Users of 3D Printing
16.1. Lockheed Martin
16.5. GE Aviation
16.8. Addenbrooke's Hospital
17.1. Review of opportunities