In recent years, 3D printing materials have been exploding with innovation. As new printing technologies have slowed down, the demand for more versatile printing materials has dramatically increased. Printing for prototyping, users are seeking even more realism in their models. And different industries are seeking improved physical and chemical properties in materials across the spectrum of printing technologies.
IDTechEx is one company tracking and analyzing trends in the 3D printing industry. They have noticed this imbalance between innovation in materials versus innovation in printing technologies. They estimate the global market for 3D printing materials will be worth a whopping $18.4 billion in 2030 (Harrop).
See the full report produced by Dr. Jonathan Harrop here.
Some of the more exciting material advancements include mixtures originating from powders. Specifically, metal, thermoplastic, and ceramic powders seem to have captured the spotlight of the industry. Although we can’t leave out the classic thermoplastic filaments and photopolymer resins. One company dedicated to engineering the highest quality printing materials, Stratasys, continually releases new photopolymer resins for their line of PolyJet machines. With the ability to jet multiple materials simultaneously, advanced print heads can achieve PANTONE validated colors in machines like the J850 and the recently released J55.
Other companies like Makerbot have started to release new thermoplastic filaments for their lower-end machines. More tough and durable compositions like nylon carbon fiber have become available to the hobbyist community. An excellent example to prove just how evolved the industry really is.
In the next decade, 3D printing materials are sure to revolutionize the additive manufacturing industry. Whether that means creating higher quality end-use parts, opening up more possibilities to a lower budget consumer, or creating indistinguishable prototype modes, everyone is tuned in. If you are considering an investment in a certain machine technology, make sure the materials currently available to you properly suit your needs. Our team of additive experts will be happy to consult with you and your team to find the best material solutions for your applications.
Schedule a time to talk with our engineers here.