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Automotive Additive Manufacturing Market Sees $9B Opportunity On The Horizon

Automotive Additive Manufacturing Market Sees $9B Opportunity On The Horizon

There is an increasing adoption of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies by key automakers, automotive parts suppliers and AM services catering to the automotive segment. According to a new report by SmarTech Analysis, the segment is expected to see an overall $9 billion opportunity by 2029, including a more than $4 billion yearly revenue opportunity from AM applications in tools and final parts production.

The transitional shifts from 3D printing for prototyping to 3D printing production—and from traditional, formative (analogue) manufacturing to digital additive manufacturing—are not as streamlined as was initially envisioned. As the technology evolves, it becomes increasingly clear that addressing the specific final part production requirements of adopting industrial segments is a task that is several orders of magnitude greater than the production of functional prototypes.

Thus, the investments required are also several orders of magnitude greater. These larger investments are driven and—SmarTech expects—will continue to be driven by potential rewards, in terms of business opportunities, that are several orders of magnitude greater than those deriving from limiting the scope of additive manufacturing to its current use in prototyping.

Report Highlights

  • SmarTech Analysis expects that, as the overall automotive parts and accessories segment grows into a $460 billion market by 2025—and could thus near $500 billion by 2029—the AM opportunity is expected to grow into an overall $9 billion business.
  • New additive manufacturing systems and technologies, which have just begun to enter commercial availability, are now increasingly able to provide larger parts, larger part batches and faster production capabilities, both via hardware evolution and increased process automation, along with more readily available end-use materials. As SmarTech Analysis forecasted a year ago, the current period is of fundamental importance for defining AM adoption by the automotive segment.
  • Although Europe currently leads in metal AM and the Americas lead in polymer AM adoption, China is expected to generate the most revenues in automotive AM in terms of cumulative revenues throughout the forecast period. The United States is the second largest market and Germany is the third, each dominating their respective geographic areas.
  • The average price of metal systems—which is currently very high and approaching $500,000—is expected to decrease significantly over the course of the forecast period due to widespread adoption of affordably priced bound metal filament systems. These systems currently have an average cost of about $75,000 and are expected to gradually decrease to about $50,000 by the end of the forecast period.
  • Adoption of polymer AM in automotive manufacturing is focusing on certain materials specifically; nylon (mainly PA12 but also various other PA grades) and ABS are expected to continue to enjoy widespread adoption—especially in composite variants integrating carbon fibre (for lightweight and strength) or glass fibre for high temperature resistance. SmarTech is also seeing increased adoption of elastomers such as TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) and PP (polypropylene).
  • In metals, much of the focus in automotive remains on steel, the most widely used metal both in automotive and AM, as well as on titanium for high end automotive applications, mainly in motor sports or one-off and short batch production runs. For the future, aluminium—which is widely used for prototyping today—is seen as a key material for lightweight, more affordable end use part production both through metal PBF and—possibly—by binder jetting processes.



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Sandvik Acquires Stake In Additive Manufacturing Service Provider Beam IT

Sandvik Acquires Stake In Additive Manufacturing Service Provider Beam IT

Sandvik AB has acquired a 30 percent stake in privately owned Italian company Beam IT, a provider of metal additive manufacturing (AM) services and advanced end-use components.

“The investment in Beam IT will complement our existing offer in additive manufacturing. It is also in line with Sandvik’s strategic ambition to become a leading solution provider for the wider component manufacturing industry,” said Lars Bergström, president of Sandvik Machining Solutions.

Beam IT is a trusted supplier of metal AM end-components to demanding industries, including automotive, energy and aerospace, and holds several relevant quality certifications to serve these industries. The company has more than 20 years of experience within additive manufacturing (AM) and has more than 20 powder bed fusion printers installed.

“The AM sector is developing fast and there is a need for AM-specialist-partners with the advanced skills and resources required to help industrial customers develop and launch their AM programmes. With this investment we provide our customers with the opportunity to access the complementary and combined power of Sandvik and Beam IT,” said Kristian Egeberg, president of the Additive Manufacturing division in Sandvik.

In 2018, Beam IT generated revenues of about SEK70 million, with its 38 employees. Sandvik has the right to further increase its stake over time. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.



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TRUMPF Is Expanding The Scope Of 3D Printing

TRUMPF Is Expanding The Scope Of 3D Printing

With global interest in additive manufacturing technologies on the rise, TRUMPF presents its new 3D printing applications that can drive advances in various industrial sectors.

Additive manufacturing processes enable the creation of unprecedented complex shapes that are both light and stable. With the benefit of digital connectivity, they fit seamlessly into state-of-the-art manufacturing systems in use today. The 3D printer is a key tool for many manufacturing processes ranging from mass customisation to one-off builds. It can print anything from bespoke facial implants to special parts for cars or airplanes. Able to print components in one piece, these systems often spare vendors the effort of multiple manufacturing steps.

“Interest in additive manufacturing technologies remains high because the process’s benefits are proving their merits in more and more practical applications. This applies as much to conventional metalworking companies as it does to future products in the aerospace industry,” said Thomas Fehn, general manager at TRUMPF Additive Manufacturing.

Three examples of TRUMPF 3D printing in industrial manufacturing:

  1. Personalised Craniomaxillofacial Implants

Russian medical device manufacturer CONMET has been using a TRUMPF 3D printer to produce craniomaxillofacial implants since early 2018. 3D printed implants are ready for insertion, precisely fitted and cleaned, before the procedure begins. This enhances patient safety while cutting costs and speeding up surgery. Furthermore, it can print parts that are sturdy and durable while still cushioning against blows. The implant’s porous structures facilitate the ingrowth of healthy tissue. CONMET has managed to reduce the cost of manufacturing craniomaxillofacial implants by around 40 percent.

  1. A Lightweight Mounting Bracket For Communication Satellites

TRUMPF has been commissioned by the space company Tesat-Spaceroom to produce a 3D-printed mounting structure for Germany’s Heinrich Hertz communications satellite, which will be used to test the space-worthiness of new communication technologies. In collaboration with the company AMendate, TRUMPF engineers succeeded in optimising the geometry of the mounting structure and reducing its weight by 55 percent. This optimised mount is both lighter and more robust. During the launch of the satellite the new mounting structure will withstand the same high forces and will hold its shape better.

“This is just one example of how we can use additive processes in satellite construction to reduce weight and increase payload capacity,” says Matthias Müller, industry manager for aerospace and energy at TRUMPF Additive Manufacturing.

  1. Easy-To-Make Sewer Cleaning Nozzles

TRUMPF joined forces with USB Düsen and Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences to demonstrate the benefits of 3D printing in the fabrication of cleaning nozzles for sewers.

The 3D-printed variant eliminates the need for milling and gluing. The component can be printed without any supporting structures, so there is no finishing work to be done afterwards. The software-driven process is far more accurate than manual gluing. Measurements have shown that printing cuts production time by 53 percent. For the first time, this will allow up to 10,000 parts to be manufactured per year. Another benefit is a smoother flowing jet of water. TRUMPF engineers expect the new nozzles to reduce water consumption and boost cleaning performance.



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Increasing Fluid Power Capabilities With Metal Additive Manufacturing

Increasing Fluid Power Capabilities With Metal Additive Manufacturing

Renishaw recently collaborated with Domin Fluid Power to help the company maximise productivity when designing and manufacturing direct drive valves. Using metal additive manufacturing (AM) techniques, the company can now manufacture smaller, more efficient drives and reduce cycle times from five and a half hours to just one.

“Metal AM allows you to stretch the art of what is possible in the fluid power sector,” explained Marcus Pont, General Manager of Domin Fluid Power. “After spending years on testing different prototypes and designs we have developed our knowledge in AM that will enable us to produce efficient parts for customers. For example, we have designed one of our drives that is 25 per cent of the original size, 25 percent more powerful and produced at a third of the cost.”

“We’ve worked with Domin throughout the whole process, from investigating material properties, to exploring the advantages of using the latest technologies, such as the RenAM 500Q, in production,” said Martin McMahon, AM Lead Technical Consultant at Renishaw.

“Additive manufacturing is a key technology for Domin,” continued McMahon. “It gives the company the ability to build complex parts, free of tooling and with minimal operations and assembly. Trying to integrate such complex functionality into such a small design would not be possible using conventional manufacturing techniques.”

Manufacturers in a wide variety of sectors can use AM technology to improve productivity in high value, small volume production. Renishaw’s latest system, the RenAM 500Q, is currently broadening the market appeal of AM into applications that were previously uneconomical due to its efficiency. The compact system features four 500 W lasers to speed up the printing process by up to four times, improving productivity and lowering cost per part.



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Additive Manufacturing To Generate US$100 Billion Economic Value In ASEAN By 2025

Additive Manufacturing To Generate US$100 billion Economic Value In ASEAN By 2025

(L to R) Mr. Lim Kok Kiang and Dr. Donatus Kaufmann sign the certificate of collaboration marking the launch of thyssenkrupp’s Additive Manufacturing Tec

thyssenkrupp has presented a white paper on additive manufacturing (AM) potential in the ASEAN region, a comprehensive research undertaken by the company as a prelude to the official launch of its AM TechCenter Hub in Singapore.

Titled “Additive Manufacturing: Adding Up Growth Opportunities for ASEAN”, the white paper provides deep insights and perspectives on the state of additive manufacturing in the ten member countries of ASEAN. The paper was developed by thyssenkrupp with the support and contribution of a multidisciplinary team of experts and partners in Singapore including the global industrial 3D printing leader EOS GmbH and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC).

The research shared exciting prospects for additive manufacturing in the ASEAN region, where current penetration is still relatively low despite wider acceptance globally. The extensive study noted several key highlights:

  • AM penetration in ASEAN today is small, accounting for only five to seven percent of Asia’s total AM spend estimated at $3.8 billion for 2019
  • However, there is huge potential for the ASEAN market given its contribution to the global manufacturing output. Manufacturing accounts for 20 percent of the region’s GDP, employs nearly 50 million workforce and is expected to grow at least three times in the near future
  • Additive manufacturing is estimated to generate around $100 billion of incremental value by 2025, impacting ASEAN’s projected real GDP by 1.5 to two percent
  • Opportunities via additive manufacturing will enable the reduction of ASEAN’s import dependence with the potential to impact at least $30 to 50 billion by localsing manufacturing closer to consumption and reducing overall import dependence by up to two percent for the region

It can also contribute in sustainable development and improve ASEAN’s competitiveness in already established global value chains across key sectors such as Automotive, Electronics, and Chemicals, as well as accelerate the region’s growth in industries like Aerospace, Medical Devices, and Healthcare.

Additive manufacturing would enable the ASEAN region to further advance its Industry 4.0 and skills development focus, and promote local entrepreneurship with the potential to create three to four million additional AM jobs for the region by 2030.

“As our study shows, additive manufacturing delivers enormous potential to transform the ASEAN region and level up vital sectors,” said Mr Jan Lueder, CEO of thyssenkrupp Regional Headquarters Asia Pacific. “Additive manufacturing will surely be an innovative solution to further drive growth in ASEAN, as long as stakeholders work together to continue building awareness as well as a supportive ecosystem for additive manufacturing adoption and development. We have found such an ecosystem in Singapore, and that is one of the key reasons in establishing our first additive manufacturing TechCenter Hub outside of Germany.”

Establishment of thyssenkrupp’s Additive Manufacturing TechCenter Hub in Singapore

The white paper comes at the heels of the establishment of thyssenkrupp’s Additive Manufacturing TechCenter Hub in Singapore. The TechCenter Hub, supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), serves as the regional hub for the company’s existing TechCenter in Mülheim an der Ruhr in Germany. The Singapore Hub, along with the Mülheim TechCenter, will focus on innovations around additive manufacturing solutions in metal and plastic technologies for customers in marine and offshore, automotive, cement, chemical, mining and other heavy industries.

The presentation of the research was held at the official launch of the Singapore AM TechCenter Hub, which was attended by top executives from thyssenkrupp AG, representatives from the Singapore Economic Development Board, and key business partners and customers of thyssenkrupp in Asia Pacific. The launch was formally marked with a signing ceremony presided by Dr Donatus Kaufmann, Executive Board Member of thyssenkrupp AG, and Mr Lim Kok Kiang, Assistant Managing Director, EDB.

“Our Additive Manufacturing TechCenter in Germany has been at the forefront of many innovations in AM,” shared Mr Lueder, “and we aim to bring these important and transformative innovations to our customers in the Asia Pacific region via the Singapore hub.”

“Singapore has invested more than $200 million in additive manufacturing-related research, to develop new capabilities that can better serve the growing demand in Southeast Asia. thyssenkrupp’s Singapore AM TechCentre Hub is an exciting and timely addition to our efforts in this area, leveraging our diverse manufacturing base and strengths in Industry 4.0 to create innovative solutions for its customers, from Singapore. We look forward to working with thyssenkrupp in strengthening our status as an additive manufacturing hub for Asia Pacific,” said Mr Lim.

ASEAN’s ten member countries have varying degrees of additive manufacturing adoption, with many of these focused on developing the infrastructure and skills to leverage on this disruptive technology. Currently, Singapore has around 40 percent of the additive manufacturing market in ASEAN, followed by Malaysia and Thailand with the next 40 percent of the market by value. The research further indicates that along with a better understanding of additive manufacturing, its use and commercial value, partnerships and collaborations will be effective means to push for broader acceptance of the technology in the region.

“The biggest roadblock for additive manufacturing adoption is not the technology but lack of know-how today, and this is where we can create value for our customers building on our deep AM expertise,” said Mr Abhinav Singhal, Chief Strategy Officer for thyssenkrupp Regional Headquarters Asia Pacific and one of the authors of the white paper. “We believe that all stakeholders – governments, businesses, research institutions – should come together and harness the potential of additive manufacturing to truly transform the region’s industries and realise our shared vision of growth and development. The time to act is now.”



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Samsung Electronics Selects Optomec Additive Manufacturing System For Next-Gen Electronics Production

Samsung Electronics Selects Optomec Additive Manufacturing System for Next-Gen Electronics Production

Samsung Electronics has commissioned Optomec’s additive manufacturing (AM) system—the Aerosol Jet 5X System—in its Printed Electronics Lab to enable next-generation electronics production.

Aerosol Jet can print conductors and dielectric materials on 3D surfaces on many types of substrates. Electronics manufacturers are now using the Aerosol Jet process to print RF interconnects, replace wire bonds in IC packaging, print antennas directly onto electronics enclosures and create multilayer, miniature circuits—essentially eliminating the restrictive shapes of PCBs. These capabilities will enable Samsung Electronics designers to miniaturize products as well as change the form of the overall electronics package, allowing more organic and ergonomic designs.

The Optomec Aerosol Jet 5X system supports five-axis of coordination motion with a 200x300x200mm (x, y, z) print envelope, and has the ability to print features ranging from 10 microns to millimetres. In addition to the hardware and software of the Aerosol Jet System, Optomec provides two decades of materials and process research to match the performance and environmental requirements of the design to a proven production-ready process.



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AMendate Acquisition Helps Hexagon Minimise Time-to-Print For Additive Manufacturing

AMendate Acquisition Helps Hexagon Minimise Time-to-Print for Additive Manufacturing

Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire AMendate GmbH, a German-based start-up providing simulation software solutions that support the generation and optimisation of designs for additive manufacturing. AMendate will join Hexagon’s MSC Software business, a provider of computer-aided engineering (CAE) simulation software and services.

With this acquisition, MSC is positioned to offer its customers a paradigm shift away from general purpose optimisation technologies to an innovative, purpose built software solution for additive manufacturing. Enabling the efficient production of highly complex components and providing customers with numerous benefits, from material-saving, weight reduction and efficient, cost-effective production. AMendate’s technology eliminates the inefficient manual effort that significantly slows today’s workflows, allowing work steps to be completed in days that would otherwise take several weeks.

“The AMendate acquisition directly addresses a major obstacle during design for companies shifting to additive manufacturing processes,” said Paolo Guglielmini, CEO, MSC Software. “It enhances our Smart Factory solutions by minimising time-to-print. We are proud to welcome AMendate to the MSC team, and we look forward to what we will accomplish together.”

“With MSC being one of the most renowned developers for software solutions in CAE, we are incredibly excited to introduce our generative design technology to its customers,” said Dr. Thomas Reiher, CEO and co-founder, AMendate. “The integration of AMendate’s software in MSC’s established simulation technologies such as Simufact and MSC Apex will enable us to further enhance our technology even faster and make its benefits available to a global audience.”

AMendate was founded in 2018 by a team of experienced researchers from Paderborn University and the Direct Manufacturing Research Centre (DMRC) in Paderborn, an industrial/academic consortium started in 2008 by Boeing, EOS, and other commercial partners.

The AMendate transaction is expected to close early third quarter and subject to customary closing conditions.



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Adapting Cutting Tools To Changing Trends

Adapting Cutting Tools To Changing Trends

In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News, Jacob Harpaz, ISCAR CEO, IMC President and Chairman of the Board, discusses the current trends in the metalworking tool industry, and how the company is helping their customers address their manufacturing challenges.

Jacob Harpaz

APMEN: Could you provide us with an overview of the trends that are shaping the metalworking tool industry?

Jacob Harpaz: Developments such as electric vehicles and powertrains in large volumes, additive manufacturing and cyber connectivity will mean significant changes in the style of machining and the materials being used. Workpieces will be produced more commonly at near net shapes for final machining and finishing.

By 2030 there will be big changes in the automotive sector. The major OEMs are moving away from the internal combustion engine which will mean much less metal removal will be required. There will be wider use of composite materials and the introduction of 3D printing will also mean less metal removal. At ISCAR we are preparing for these changes. Cutting tools will have to adapt to remove less metal but at much faster speeds and feeds.

Industry 4.0’s impact will not just come through sophisticated new technology such as sensors, process monitoring and acquiring machining data, but in the integration of factories and the supply and distribution of consumables used in manufacturing and products leaving the factory.

APMEN: How has ISCAR kept up with these trends?

Harpaz: ISCAR’s motto of “Machining Intelligently” represents the ongoing process of developing new products for increased productivity.  Our aim is to provide our customers with the latest technology to bring down costs.  ISCAR’s strategic philosophy is ongoing R&D that drives our business growth. As soon as we introduce to the market our newest tooling families, another team from the R&D division focuses on designing tools that will compete with these latest tools

ISCAR recently launched its “LOGIQ” cutting tools campaign featuring highly advanced cutting tool solutions for productive, high quality and efficient manufacturing in all sectors.

APMEN: What are the top three challenges that your customers are facing?

Harpaz: First, machining logically and intelligently is closely connected to today’s smart factories and the current cyber age. The cyber revolution is here, and Asian shops should quickly embrace what Industry 4.0 really means. They need to move beyond seeing Industry 4.0 as just a slogan, and this will take open-mindedness.

Next, companies need to maximise efficiency to stay ahead. They should be developing methods to collect, analyse and leverage data and utilising appropriate tools to cut faster or reduce setup, as well as implementing inventory systems that reinforce the aim of 24/7 machining. ISCAR’s “LOGIQ” product range helps to realise these goals.

Third, the ISO 13999 standard affects CAM procedures on production floors all over the world. Producing metal parts productively and profitably requires many technological changes to ensure that the process is followed correctly. To address this challenge, customers need online data such as the information that appears in ISCAR’s electronic catalog, which features assembly options.

APMEN: How are you helping them address these challenges?

Harpaz: ISCAR embraces a business culture that nurtures, strengthens and maintains strong ties with our customers. We aim to improve profitability and productivity for large and small manufacturers alike, facing every challenge as an opportunity to expand our range of solutions through focused R&D, production excellence, and close cooperation with customers to ensure the right product for their needs.

ISCAR introduced a milling tool assemblies option in E-CAT, its comprehensive electronic catalog. This new option represents a highly valuable instrument for the preliminary process in selecting tools at the design and planning stages of machining. Cutting tool data can be gathered accurately and used to create twin representations of the tools. Creating a digital twin representation of a tool assembly based on ISO 13399 facilitates the accurate communication of tool information between software systems. The assemblies are accessible in both 2D and 3D files, and the files can be downloaded directly from E-CAT on the ISCAR website.

Integrating this new function into the user’s CAM software can prevent errors on the shop floor during machining, while the ability to plan multiple tool assemblies saves time and costs in the planning process.

While we always provide the latest technology to machine the part, the productivity advantage of this technology only matters if you have the tool at the right place at the right time.

APMEN: How do you position ISCAR in the metalworking tools market in Asia?

Harpaz: The Asian market is important and presents its own challenges and opportunities; ISCAR welcomes every challenge as an opportunity for continued research and development of effective cutting solutions that match market developments and requirements.

Our commitment to combining innovation with reliability and cost consciousness, together with our wide market knowledge and penetration and a uniquely strong – and global – corporate culture, enables us to stay at the forefront of the industry and to provide our Asian customers with optimal, cost-effective solutions to their needs.



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Paris Air Show: TRUMPF Showcases How 3D Printing Improves Satellites And Aircraft

Paris Air Show: TRUMPF Showcases How 3D Printing Improves Satellites And Aircraft

At the Paris Air Show this week, TRUMPF is demonstrating how additive manufacturing (AM) can improve satellites and aircraft.

Satellites are subject to a whole array of ever more stringent requirements. On the one hand, they need to be as light as possible, because every kilogramme that a launch vehicle carries into space costs the client several hundred thousand euros. At the same time, however, satellites must be robust enough to withstand the tremendous forces experienced during launch.

Weight reduction is equally important for aircraft because it leads to a significant drop in fuel consumption. This reduces both their environmental impact and costs.

Additive technologies are the perfect match for the aerospace industry because they enable engineers to create parts that are both lightweight and robust. These methods only add material where it is actually needed, while conventional methods such as milling and casting often struggle to eliminate superfluous material. 3D printers are also adept at handling light metals such as aluminium and titanium, and AM engineers enjoy much more freedom in the design process because they are not confined by the limitations of traditional production methods.

TRUMPF offers expertise in both the key methods required by the aerospace industry: laser metal fusion (LMF), which is carried out entirely within the confines of the 3D printer, with a laser building up the part layer by layer from a powder bed; and laser metal deposition (LMD), which uses a laser beam to build up layers on the surface of a part, with the metal powder being injected through a nozzle.

Three Examples of How 3D Printing is Improving the Aerospace Industry:

  1. Weight of satellite mounting structure reduced by 55 percent

TRUMPF has been commissioned by the space company Tesat-Spaceroom GmbH& Co. KG to produce a 3D-printed mounting structure for Germany’s Heinrich Hertz communications satellite, which will be used to test the space-worthiness of new communication technologies. The mounting structure includes strap-on motors that are used to modulate microwave filters.

In collaboration with the company AMendate, engineers succeeded in optimising the topology of the mounting structure and reducing its weight by 55 percent. The mount now weighs just 75 grams instead of 164 grams.

The team of experts printed the redesigned part on TRUMPF’s TruPrint 3000 3D printer. The new geometry cannot be produced using conventional methods. Apart from being lighter, the optimised mounting structure is also more robust. During the launch of the satellite, the new mounting structure will withstand the same high forces and will hold its shape better. The Heinrich Hertz satellite mission is carried out by DLR Space Administration on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and with the participation of the Federal Ministry of Defence.

  1. Cost of engine parts reduced by 74 percent

TRUMPF is also showcasing an AM use case for the aviation sector at the Paris Air Show. In collaboration with Spanish supplier Ramem, TRUMPF experts have employed 3D printing to optimise a part known as a ‘rake.’ Manufacturers use this part during engine development to measure the pressure and temperature of the engine. These kinds of measurements are an important part of testing aircraft performance. Mounted directly in the engine’s air flow, rakes are exposed to extreme temperatures and high pressure. To deliver accurate measurements, they must conform to precise dimensional requirements. Producing rakes by conventional means is an expensive and time-consuming process.

Workers produce the base structure on a milling machine before inserting six delicate tubes, welding them into place and sealing the body of the rake with a cover plate. If just one of these tubes is out of place, the rake has to be scrapped. TRUMPF produced an optimised rake geometry on the TruPrint 1000 3D printer. Redesigning the part in this way makes it quicker for the manufacturer to produce and reduces the amount of material used by around 80 percent, ultimately slashing the overall cost by 74 percent.

  1. Making engine blades easier to repair

TRUMPF is also presenting some sample applications of LMD technology at the Paris Air Show. These include the LMD repair of a high-pressure compressor blade—also known as a 3D aeroblade—used in aircraft engines. Apart from having to withstand extreme changes in temperature during flight, these components are also in constant contact with dust and water, and they typically show signs of wear on the edges and tips, requiring aviation engineers to periodically repair the blades to maintain engine efficiency.

The LMD method is perfect for this job, as in some sections of the blades, the material is just 0.2mm thick. Conventional methods quickly reach their limits in these kinds of applications. With LMD technology, however, the laser can be positioned with an accuracy of approximately one hundredth of a millimetre before it applies a precisely calculated dose of energy. At the same time, the system feeds in material of exactly the same composition as the part itself. This process makes it easy to repair the blades multiple times, significantly reducing the cost per part in each engine overhaul.



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Outlook For Additive Manufacturing With Copper: 51% CAGR Through 2027

Outlook For Additive Manufacturing With Copper: 51% CAGR Through 2027

Copper additive manufacturing (AM) is a rapidly expanding opportunity within the AM industry, thanks to a wave of technical developments which have begun to enable reliable, high quality printing of copper and copper alloys. As a result, commercial entities have begun to ramp up internal research and investments to capitalise on opportunities in industrial markets for copper components, with long term potential in electronics and medical devices setting the stage for copper materials to become one of the most influential in the broader metal AM industry.

According to a new market study titled ‘Copper Additive Manufacturing 2019 Market Database and Outlook’ by SmarTech Market Publishing, shipments of copper powders to additive manufacturing (AM) users grew by 45 percent in 2018, with an expected 60 percent growth during 2019. Fuelled by key technical developments in copper additive processes and materials, AM has the potential to create disruptive copper component applications in industrial markets in the immediate future, as solutions continue to be adopted and refined. From 2019 to 2027, the copper AM industry is expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 51 percent.

Copper printing exploration has been ongoing for many years, with published research dating back to at least 2010, according to SmarTech. The largest market catalyst came in 2016 with the development and certification of printing of copper alloys, as well as pure copper, utilising metal powder bed fusion technologies (both laser and electron beam variants) for the production of copper induction coils.

Copper materials are being explored within each of the three primary metal AM print technology families today, but their chemistry does present challenges to processing using established or ‘conventional’ metal AM system configurations in most available technologies. To overcome these challenges, SmarTech believes there are three primary avenues of technical development which are influencing the overall adoption of copper printing:

  • Alterations to or adaptations of hardware architecture of existing printing systems
  • Tailoring of material properties and powder characteristics of copper materials used
  • Development of alternative metal additive printing technologies suited to copper printing



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