Lou Kren Lou Kren
Senior Editor

Plenty to See in the 3D Metal Printing Industry

August 19, 2021


Seemingly every day we at 3D Metal Printing receive news of new metal alloys becoming qualified for use in a variety of additive manufacturing (AM) processes. We learn of providers rolling out new AM machines with more lasers and quicker build times, and/or the abilities to deposit more than one alloy and employ machining for hybrid additive and subtractive construction. We hear about more powerful, more capable software technology that promises the ability to play nice across platforms, perform in situ and other forms of process monitoring and control.  

Industry creates new applications at a steady pace, with the new space race, for example, having produced a multitude of opportunities for AM. And, as the worldwide economy recovers in fits and starts from COVID-19 and subsequent virus variants (with AM acting literally as a lifesaver), industrial, energy and other sectors are finding value in the flexibility and creativity inherent in AM. 

We continue to see capital infusions that enable technology providers to increase R&D efforts and better position themselves to take advantage of AM growth. Government initiatives and collaborative organizations consistently provide the funding, direction and communication pipelines to bring complementary partners together to advance AM. Learning institutions also are doing their part, through such collaborations, and through an increase in training programs and educational tracks to produce the needed knowledgeable workforce.  

And, not surprisingly, we come across the latest trend reports that show continued growth of metal AM. To be sure, innovation can drive this growth, but challenges abound. Production-level AM is a lofty goal that can provide firm footing for the industry and those who inhabit it. Here we see a positive trend, hopefully leading to demand that reaches a critical mass and stabilizes the AM infrastructure in North America. We see providers and suppliers alike reorganizing, swapping out or bringing in functions to assemble platforms for the path forward. 

Wow, we see a lot, and the best part is, now we’ll get to see each other! I’m talking about RAPID + TCT, September 13-15 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL—look for 3D Metal Printing at booth E7049 as well as all over the show. 3D Metal Printing previews RAPID + TCT in this issue, beginning on p. 24, and includes details on the robust conference schedule. 

Our editorial coverage in this issue also speaks to the momentum detailed above. Find out why metal binder jetting makes sense in a variety of applications, beginning on p. 8. Learn where AM has the opportunity to provide long-term solutions to the semiconductor shortage, starting on p. 12. Get details, beginning on p. 16, on the use of superalloys in 3D printing, and where the challenges lie in getting it right. Starting on p. 21, read how a U.K. manufacturer adopted metal AM to stretch design capabilities and save precious time. And, explore R&D leading to models that better predict AM-part performance, starting on p. 26. We also recap, beginning on p. 18, the Additive Manufacturing Users Group Conference, which took place this past May.

Yes, there’s plenty to see in the metal-AM industry, in 3DMP’s Summer 2021 issue and on the floor at RAPID + TCT. 

Industry-Related Terms: Additive manufacturing, Binder jetting
View Glossary of 3D Metal Printing Terms

Technologies: Applications, Directed-Energy Systems, Management

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