Jeffries Believes Metal 3D Printing is Set to Grow
Kyle Maxey posted on February 26, 2014 |

3d printing, market, consumer, metal, Jeffries, speed, qualityAfter attending the 3D Printshow in New York, Jefferies and Co. analyst Peter Misek delivered a report on the themes he believes are emerging in the 3D printing market.

According to Misek, who closely monitors the 3D printing market, the world of consumer-oriented 3D printers is in a bit of a rut. After visiting the booths of more than 15 3D printer manufacturers, Misek was left with the notion that each manufacturer was finding it hard to distinguish why their product was superior to the next. “From what we gather, the consumer 3D printer market has become more commoditized and most of the printers offer similar functionality,” reads Misek’s report. “As a result, we believe the consumer 3D printer market has become a word-of-mouth/branding game.”

While the consumer side of the 3D printing market may have lost its way, Misek’s take on additive manufacturing’s industrial potential is much sunnier. Aside from its well-publicized role in manufacturing parts for GE’s LEAP engine, AM is expanding its industrial base with the likes of Johnson & Johnson and Stryker looking into exploiting the manufacturing tech. “We expect 3D printers based on technologies that can process metal-like powder bed binding and powder bed fusion (SLS, EBM) to grow faster than the broader 3D printing over the next few years,” writes Misek.

Although metal-based 3D printing looks like it will continue to be a winner in the near future, Misek warns that key obstacles such as print speed and part quality will have to be improved in the near term if metal printing is to continue to grow its market. 

“We believe build speed and integrated metrology are the main gating characteristics that need to be improved before 3D printing expands into mass manufacturing. Additionally over the next few years, we see catalytic changes in terms of build speed, quality, and capability as software and physical enhancement as well as automation of materials handling, post-process finishing, and other steps become much more promising in terms of final working parts.”

As with many of us following the 3D printing market, Misek’s report sees a bright future for additive manufacturing; however, the analyst warns that it will still be a while before the tech makes big waves in the world of mass manufacturing.

Image Courtesy of GE

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