Most exciting 3D Printing Applications
Likelihood is, if you can think it, you can 3D print it, but here are some examples of uses you may just not have thought of
With their capacity to print copies of already existing objects, or completely new ones, 3D printers can be used in many industries, for a whole host of reasons. 3D printing goes hand in hand with the automobile industry, not just helping to create prototypes but to manufacture and add finishing touches to final products. There is also a lot of buzz surrounding 3D printing in the healthcare sector, as medical devices, organs and tissues are customized and printed for patients. Here we run through some of the less obvious, and most exciting, cases we researched where 3D printers are utilized to improve and innovate.
BAE Systems is a defence, aerospace and security company. They are developing the Chemputer, a chemical 3D printer, in order to print drones. This could be used to make parts for larger, manned aircraft too. Back in 2014, their fighter jets flew with 3D printed metal components, for the very first time. With the aim of saving GBP 1.2 million by 2018 in maintenance and service costs, the portable nature of 3D printers is a bonus for BAE as they can bring production to the base, rather than having to outsource and deliver. Mike Murray, head of airframe integration, says “if it’s feasible to get machines out on the front line, it also gives improved capability where we wouldn’t traditionally have any manufacturing support.”
Nike have made personalized 3D printed spikes. On partnering with HP (NYSE:HPQ), President of Nike Innovation, Tom Clarke, says “we are excited to partner with HP to accelerate and scale our existing capabilities as we continue to explore new ways to manufacture performance products to help athletes reach their full potential.” It’s not only footwear; Nike developed a cooling hood to shorten recovery time and a shin guard and sports duffle bag that are both lightweight and hardy.
ARC Group WorldWide specialize in metal and plastic 3D printing. Included within their portfolio of companies is 3D Material Technologies. In order to support customers in the field of dentistry, they have invested in new machines that will “pioneer material development and increase efficiency.” This may only excite dentists but it should also interest investors as, at the time of writing, the stock has experienced a year’s gain of 220.42 %.
IKONICS (NASDAQ:IKNX) have a market cap of USD 23.14 million and have five operating segments, including IKONICS Imaging. In a letter to shareholders, CEO William C. Ulland talks of “an exciting entry into the 3D printing market with our DTX technology.” As specialists in DTX, which stands for Digital Texturing Technologies, they take computer designs to make textured films, for final use in making moulds and embossing or etching surfaces.
Tinkerine’s flagship 3D printer, the DittoPro, is a desktop printer. Its DIY emphasis and online educational platform brings 3D printing to the masses. Indeed, as it is based in Vancouver, Canadian schoolchildren can take advantage of the technology on their doorstep to learn about design and mechanics. This fosters an ethos of creativity among the students. Tinkerine has a market cap of USD 6.45 million and has grown 26.32 % year-to-date.
Whether it’s enthusing children or sending parts and people into space, 3D printing should not be underestimated. Additive manufacturing will always find new paths in a myriad of industries and investors can choose which application really excites them.
The 3D Printing Materials Market estimated worth is USD 1409.5 Million by 2021
The report “3D Printing Materials Market by Type (Plastics, Metals, Ceramics, and Others), by Form (Filament, Powder and Liquid), by Application, and by Region – Global Forecasts to 2021”, The 3D printing materials market is projected to grow from USD 530.1 Million in 2016 to USD 1409.5 Million by 2021, at a CAGR of 21.60 % during the same period.
3D printing technology has been adopted by major end-use industries because of its design flexibility, less wastage, and environmentally friendly properties among others. The increase in the demand for 3D printing technology in aerospace & defence, medical & dental, automotive, and consumer goods is driving the 3D printing materials market, globally.
Medical & dental is one of the key segments in the 3D printing materials market
Medical & dental is one of the major applications that use 3D printing technology. Several medical products such as surgical equipment, prosthetics & implants, and tissue engineering products are manufactured through 3D printing technology. Apart from this, 3D printing is also used for technologies in the field of medicine such as orthopedic, dental, and cranio-maxillofacial. With recent advancements in bio-printing applications of the 3D printing technology, human organs can also be printed.
Metal materials are expected to dominate the 3D printing materials market
Metals have a higher market share in comparison to plastics and ceramics owning to its high strength. Therefore, they have a wide range applications in the aerospace & defense, medical & dental, and automotive industries that require strong materials for the making of end-use parts by using 3D printing technology. Metals are generally available in powder form with different grades of coloUrs. Titanium is a special material with high strength used in 3D printing spare parts, medical, jewellery, home decor, tools, and army related products.
North America is the largest 3D printing materials market
The U.S. accounts for a major share of the 3D printing materials market in North America, whereas Germany accounts for the major market of the European region. High growth in the U.S. is attributed to the growing demand for 3D printing technology, especially from the aerospace & defense industry. The Asia-Pacific region is also experiencing high growth in the 3D printing materials market. This increase in growth is due to the adoption of 3D printing technology in countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea.
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