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Additive Manufacturing: Metal Printing Industry Value Chain

Categories: ZCMIM NewsStars: 3StarsVisit: -Release time: 2019-09-27 08:30:00
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Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is expected to revolutionise manufacturing by building products layer by layer from computer-designed. However, despite extensive media coverage, additive manufacturing has not yet been applied on a large scale in actual production practice.

In theory, additive manufacturing technology can produce better products, including more product categories, better product performance, longer service life and lighter unit weight. At the same time, the technology will also lead to simplify production process. For example, the delivery time is greatly accelerated due to shortened production cycle, the choice of production location is more flexible, the production tools are simplified, and production waste is greatly reduced compared with traditional process

Despite the small size of overall market, additive manufacturing is growing rapidly and at a strong rate. At present, the global additive manufacturing market size is about us $7 billion, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate up to 24% in the next six years, and the market size is about us $26.5 billion in 2021.

The additive manufacturing market is generally dominated by photopolymer and thermoplastic materials, of which metal materials account for only a small part. However, in recent years, the rapid development of metal printing market has brought new possibilities for the field of industrial products.

Whether metal printing can meet the demand of large-scale commercial production in automobile and other industries in terms of production efficiency, quality stability and cost control is still unknown. However, it is reasonable to believe that once metal printing is applied on a large scale, it will certainly bring about changes for current industrial production.

Manufacturers and investors considering entering metal printing industry should work hard to meet the possible industry changes. Competitive strategies should be based on insights into the application of metal printing technology and its value chain, so as to be able to grasp the industry turning points in the short, medium and long term.

In the past few years, companies in additive manufacturing industry have experienced several rounds of entrepreneurship and integration, and the head manufacturers have established their leading position in the industry. Autodesk and Materialise are the leading suppliers of additive manufacturing software, some of which are involved in multiple aspects of the industry value chain, such as Stratasys' production of 3D printers and post printing processes. Some 3D printer manufacturers also make their own metal powders, 

But as the division of labor matured, they began sourcing from specialized powder manufacturers.

It is expected that the industry value chain will continue to evolve rapidly in the future. With the decrease of material cost and the simplification of production process, unit production efficiency of additive manufacturing will be greatly improved and eventually bring about significant industry changes. The intermediate links of value chain will be simplified, especially in production and subsequent processing.

Production processes will be reshaped and restructured to develop a seamless end-to-end value chain. Integration can be achieved through the value chain within enterprise or strategic cooperation between enterprises. OEM manufacturers in particular need to enhance the in-depth understanding of each link of the value chain. Among them, intellectual property protection, software development and design capabilities are particularly important.

The improvement of production efficiency and new products and quality brought by additive manufacturing technology will further stimulate the growth of demand. Enterprises will grasp and make good use of the development opportunities, among which, spare parts production and renovation will be the two most important near-term opportunities.

Keywords in the article: additive manufacturing metal printing
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