Pricing, properties and projections for materials including photopolymers, thermoplastics and 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.
Fig. 1 The current breakdown of the materials market
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, as illustrated below.
Fig. 2 Market growth in a business-as-usual scenario
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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|3.||3D PRINTING: A REVIEW OF TECHNOLOGIES|
|3.1.||Photopolymerisation based printing|
|3.2.||Extrusion based printing|
|3.4.||Summary of 3D printing technologies|
|4.1.||Costs of materials|
|4.2.||Material waste and recycling|
|4.3.2.||Health & Safety|
|4.3.4.||State of the market|
|4.3.5.||The future of photopolymers for 3D printing|
|4.4.2.||Health and safety|
|4.4.3.||Thermoplastics for extrusion-based 3D printing|
|4.4.4.||Thermoplastics for selective laser sintering|
|4.4.5.||State of the market|
|4.4.6.||The future of thermoplastics for 3D printing|
|4.5.2.||Health and safety|
|4.5.4.||State of the market|
|4.5.5.||The future of metal powders for 3D printing|
|5.||MATERIALS IN DEVELOPMENT|
|6.2.||Scenarios for 2025 market size as a function of installed base and price|
|6.2.7.||A note on the relationship of materials prices to utilisation rates of printers|
|7.1.||Metal Powders: Argen to LPW|
|7.1.1.||The Argen Corporation, USA|
|7.1.2.||Cookson Precious Metals Ltd, UK|
|7.1.3.||Höganäs Digital Metal, Sweden|
|7.1.4.||Legor Group S.p.A, Italy|
|7.1.5.||Sandvik Osprey Ltd, UK|
|7.1.6.||LPW Technology Ltd, UK|
|7.2.||Thermoplastics: CRP to Evonik|
|7.2.1.||CRP Group, Italy|
|7.2.2.||Oxford Performance Materials, USA|
|7.2.3.||KDI Polymer Specialists Ltd, UK|
|7.3.||Ceramics Powders: Viridis3d|
|7.4.||Photopolymers: Rahn and DSM|
|7.4.2.||DSM Functional Materials|
|APPENDIX A: CASE STUDIES|
|IDTECHEX RESEARCH REPORTS|
|1.1.||Market forecasts to 2025 with falling prices and adjustment to breakdown in installed base|
|3.1.||Photopolymerisation based printer manufacturers|
|3.2.||FDM based printer manufacturers|
|4.1.||Effect of post-curing on mechanical properties|
|4.2.||Comparison of liquid photopolymers|
|4.3.||Photopolymer suppliers for 3D printing by resin type|
|4.4.||General comparison of properties of photopolymer versus thermoplastic 3D printed objects according to standard testing methods|
|4.5.||Some high performance thermoplastics.|
|4.7.||Common SLS thermoplastic powders|
|4.8.||Good SLS powder properties|
|4.9.||Properties of common metal powders for 3D printing|
|6.1.||Summary of case scenarios in appendix 1|
|6.2.||Materials market comparison|
|1.1.||Market size for all 3D printing materials|
|1.2.||Breakdown of materials type as a percentage of total market in 2013|
|1.3.||Forecasts for 3D printing material by type in a business-as-usual scenario|
|1.4.||A fully competitive 3D printing materials market|
|1.5.||2025 breakdown of market as a percentage|
|1.6.||Alternative breakdown of market as a percentage|
|1.7.||Sensitivity of market size to installed base|
|3.2.||The Polyjet approach|
|3.3.||Photopolymer 3D print|
|3.4.||Photopolymer 3D print|
|3.5.||Fused deposition modelling|
|3.6.||FDM 3D print|
|3.7.||FDM 3D print|
|3.8.||Selective laser sintering/melting|
|3.9.||The melt pool with electron beam melting (EBM)|
|3.11.||Laser generated brackets|
|3.12.||Electron beam melted acetabula cup|
|3.13.||Inkjet printed component|
|3.14.||Technologies by installed base in 2013|
|4.1.||3D printing materials supply chain|
|4.2.||3D printed rings with anchors shown beneath|
|4.4.||Patent publications relating to photocurable resins|
|4.5.||Patent publications of 3D printing photopolymer formulations|
|4.6.||SWOT analysis for photopolymers|
|4.7.||Photopolymer characterisation for 3D printing|
|4.8.||Molecular structures of thermoplastics|
|4.9.||Volume behaviour with temperature for amorphous and semi-crystalline thermoplastics|
|4.10.||Major suppliers of thermoplastics for 3D printing|
|4.11.||Thermoplastic related patent publications|
|4.12.||Patent publications of thermoplastic compositions for 3D printing|
|4.13.||SWOT analysis for 3D printing thermoplastics|
|4.14.||Radar diagram for FDM thermoplastics|
|4.15.||Radar diagram for SLS thermoplastics|
|4.16.||Requirements for thermoplastics|
|4.17.||3D printing metal powders|
|4.18.||Other suppliers of 3D printing metal powders|
|4.19.||a: non-molten steel, b: molten copper, c: porosity|
|4.20.||Densification at different chemical compositions|
|4.21.||Densification as a function of particle size|
|4.22.||Particle agglomeration occurs with particles <10microns|
|4.23.||Commercial manufacturers of metal powders for 3D printing|
|4.24.||Compositions of metal powders|
|4.25.||Top organisations for metal powder composition patenting|
|4.26.||SWOT analysis for metal powders for 3D printing|
|4.27.||Radar diagram for metal powders for 3D printing|
|4.28.||3D printed glass using the inkjet approach|
|4.29.||Extrusion-based 3D printed glass|
|4.30.||Powder providers for inkjet 3D printing|
|4.31.||SWOT analysis of alternative powders|
|4.32.||Radar diagram for alternative powders|
|5.1.||SLS printed CHAp scaffold|
|5.2.||3D printed electrodes|
|5.3.||3D printing with carbomorph|
|6.1.||Total market value of 3D printing materials|
|6.2.||Total mass of 3D printing materials produced, in tons|
|6.3.||Breakdown of installed in 2013 base by technology as a percentage (total installed based 60,000)|
|6.4.||Production of 3D printing materials for 2013 in tons|
|6.5.||Mass production at fixed relative installed base|
|6.6.||Market breakdown for the business as usual scenario|
|6.7.||Market size in 2025|
|6.8.||Market size in 2025 compared to 2013|
|6.9.||Market for thermoplastic powders in 2025|
|6.10.||Market for metal powders|
|6.11.||Inkjet powder market size in 2025|
|6.12.||Sensitivity of materials market ($) as a function of installed base|
|6.13.||Sensitivity of utility rate to materials prices|