Burgeoning Additive Manufacturing Technology–The Next Horizon for Automobiles

Burgeoning Additive Manufacturing Technology–The Next Horizon for Automobiles

By Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence Thought Articles

The 3D printing powder market was valued at US$1.172 billion in 2020 and will increase to US$2.593 billion by 2027. Over the forecast period, this market is estimated to grow at a compound yearly growth rate of 12.01%.

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is the process of developing three-dimensional solid items from a CAD model. In this process, the material is extruded from the printer's extruder in a layer-by-layer fashion until the object is complete. Each of these layers can be viewed as a cross-section of the item that has been lightly cut. So far, seven different types of additive manufacturing methods have been found and defined. Extrusion of materials, vat polymerization, powder bed fusion, and material jetting are a few such types. These seven 3D printing techniques have further developed a plethora of 3D printing technologies that are currently in use by 3D printers. Powder bed fusion (PBF) is an additive manufacturing technique that fuses atomized powder particles together using a heat source—typically a laser. Similar to other additive processes, this too prints a model layer by layer. The final product is then encased and supported within an unfused powder. Selective layer melting, selective layer sintering, multi-jet fusion, and direct metal laser sintering are the types of 3D printing technologies which deploy the powder bed fusion method. Powder-based 3D printing technology is optimal for industrial-scale manufacturing owing to its high scalability, post-printing, and high throughput. The global 3D printing powder market landscape is segmented based on powder, applications, and geographical region.

During the projected period, the increasing adoption of 3D printing technologies in the automobile and aerospace industry is anticipated to add impetus to the market growth. 

3D printing is extremely adaptable and can be set up for relatively hands-free production, making it excellent for a variety of industries such as automotive, electronics, aerospace and military, robots, and medicine. 3D printing is becoming more widely used in all aspects of car manufacturing. Aside from quick prototyping, the technique is also being utilized to make tooling and, in some situations, finished products. For instance, in March 2021, SOLIZE Corporation, a global digital engineering technology solutions provider, and HP Inc., a global leader in the 3D printing industry, collaborated to manufacture and print replacement parts for Nissan's NISMO Heritage Parts program on-demand. The duo was the first to design and manufacture 3D printed replacement components for NISMO. Other automobile giants, such as Rolls Royce and Porsche, are also actively integrating 3D printing in the automobile manufacturing process. The former deployed 3D printing to print brackets while the latter developed 3D printing seats for a few of its models. While the use of 3D printing has expanded significantly across a variety of industries, none has done it more creatively than the aerospace and defense industry. Defense, which is at the vanguard of modernization and innovation, has witnessed 3D printing penetrate the manufacturing of a variety of platforms, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aircraft parts, submarine hulls, and many other related components. Similarly, this powder-based additive manufacturing technology has also penetrated into aerospace. For instance, in May 2022, Airbus Defense and Space chose 3D Systems, based in Rock Hill, South Carolina, to manufacture essential components for its OneSat satellite.

The flourishing healthcare, automobile, and aerospace industries in the Asia Pacific region have opened vast opportunities for the 3D printing powders market in the Asia Pacific region. The ongoing investments by companies and government investments to develop the aforementioned industries are likely to boost this growth.

Rapidly Evolving 3D Printing Powders Market.

The increased penetration of powdered 3D printing technology into several industries, as cited above, is bound to propel its market size. To meet these increasing demands, many key players are hearing up to launch better offerings and enhance their market presence. In April 2022, Sweden-based Gränges forayed into the burgeoning 3D printing market with the launch of AM S220 aluminum alloy, its first additive manufacturing powder. This AM S220 (AlSi35), a high-performance aluminum alloy developed as part of the company's DISPAL family of materials, is ideal for laser powder bed fusion 3D printing. Low thermal expansion, high stiffness, low thermal expansion, great wear, and tear characteristics, superior machinability, and low density are all appealing attributes of the material. According to the firm, the alloy's qualities are similar to those of steel, except that it's a third of the weight. As a result, it's an excellent choice for high-performance applications in industries like aerospace and automotive.

Similarly, in November 2021, Farsoon, a selective laser sintering and melting solutions supplier, and Covestro, a German producer of a range of polycarbonate and ployeutharane-based raw materials, revealed their intentions to introduce new polymer 3D printing powders as the duo strengthened their partnership. The materials manufacturer has already successfully introduced TPU and PBT polymer powders generated on Farsoon 252P-series machines and has now committed to working with Farsoon on the development of other powders as well as upscaling to much larger series applications.  

At the same time, with the growing demand for unique metal powders with the penetration of revolutionary additive manufacturing methods, the companies are actively advancing forward to further optimize these processes. In March 2022, for instance, Linde, a global multinational conglomerate, is building a new, dedicated laboratory to help researchers better understand the characteristics and behavior of atmospheric gases used in metal powder manufacturing. The new laboratory is scheduled to open in mid-2022 and is said to facilitate Linde in innovating new technologies to enhance the atomization processes. While few other companies are deploying strategic acquisitions to expand their footsteps. ATLANTA's acquisition is a prime example of this. In February 2021, ALTANA, a specialized chemicals company, finalized the acquisition of TLS Technik GmbH & Co. Spezialpulver KG, extending its ECKART segment strategically. TLS, situated in Bitterfeld, Germany, has over 25 years of experience in the production of high-quality metal powders for industrial 3D printing and is one of the major global professionals in this field. 

COVID-19 Insights       

The global pandemic had significantly cooled down the sales of the global 3D printing powders market. Due to the rapidly increasing virus, multiple governments across the government have enforced stringent lockdown and social distancing measures to slow down the spread of the virus. This led to the closure of numerous production facilities, including the end-user industries of the 3D printing powders market, including aerospace and oil & gas industries. Additionally, multiple companies witnessed difficulties in imports and exports due to the stringent border restriction, ports closure, and airline halts. The procurement of raw materials and delays in shipments negatively affected the supply chains on a global scale. Furthermore, several end-user industries were forced to halt their strategic development plans due to the subsequent global economic recession. These aforementioned factors led to reduced sales for the said market. Nevertheless, with re-emerging industries amid post-COVID, the market is expected to regain its momentum and show an upward trend in the forecasted period.