During the 2016 edition of the formnext show, which took place from November 15th to the 18th in the newest Hall 3.1 of the Frankfurt Messe facility, a number of major trends emerged that show great promise for upcoming, continued and sustainable growth in the AM industry.

One is represented by the show itself. Organized directly by Frankfurt Messe, through its Mesago branch, formnext – like many other major 3D printing shows today – is co-organized with TCT, the UK-based AM industry magazine which has become the reference for many industry professionals. Leveraging on industry knowledge and a modern venue, formnext emerged as the best show this year, one of the best ever for industrial 3D printing announcements and news.

It collected the heritage left from Euromold, which had been the reference for the advanced manufacturing technology but was simply unable to cope with the rapid evolution and expansion of 3D printing as a manufacturing process. AM companies needed their own show and, while formnext is still a very small show, 3D printing evolves so fast that it was very difficult to visit every stand and find out about all the products being showcased.

The major announcements can be grouped under a few different market trends and they all seem to indicated that industrial 3D printing – both metal and plastic based - is now fast approaching the long awaited shift to high volume serial production.

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SmarTech Publishing Research Note:  What we saw at TCT

The just-completed TCT show in Birmingham offered some clear indications of  the major trends that the 3DP/AM industry is going to be following in the near-to-medium term future, especially with respect to polymer-based applications.

In fact, TCT in Birmingham is shaping up to become a leading global event for industrial AM polymer applications whereas formnext, also organized in collaboration with TCT, is aiming to become the reference European and global event for metal AM. Although it covers several different market segments, including low cost and open materials, large companies – such as Ricoh and HP -- are also actively present with their top managers. 

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SmarTech Publishing’s The Production Manager’s Guide to 3D Printing with Metals, analyzes several key aspects to consider when implementing metal AM in a company’s workflow. One particularly interesting development that production managers will need to consider is the rise of the Additive Factory.  We think that this would bring significant benefits in several industrial areas, especially for round-the-clock manufacturing of parts and components for the automotive and aerospace.

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In SmarTech Publishing’s latest ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING WITH METAL POWDERS 2016: AN OPPORTUNITY ANALYSIS AND TEN-YEAR FORECAST report, we predict that the use of nickel alloys will grow at a faster pace than titanium, cobalt chrome, and stainless steel for the next five years. This is primarily due to to a wealth of recent applications stemming from use in aerospace, energy, and even medical applications using the popular super alloys Inconel, which are currently available for additive manufacturing in 718, 625, and 939 formulations.

New Nickel Alloy Applications in AM
SmarTech Publishing has identified several factors that suggest increased nickel alloys adoption across a variety of manufacturing segments.

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According to SmarTech Publishing’s latest report on additive manufacturing with titanium – Titanium Opportunities in Additive Manufacturing -- 3D-printed titanium will have a critical strategic role in producing low-weight, highly efficient cars. 

Within the automotive industry, the motorsports sector will be the primary users of 3D-printed titanium parts.  At present the value of the titanium consumed is tiny.  However, by 2019, the value of titanium consumed by the automotive sector will exceed $10 million and by 2024 it will be close to $50 million.  Throughout the period we expect to see titanium demand within the automotive sector come mostly from continued use for high-performance parts in racing vehicles.  By 2024, the automotive is expected to utilize 103 metric tons in annual demand of titanium and titanium alloys powders.

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To meet the demands of the growing base of professional and industrial 3D printer users, SmarTech Publishing is releasing a series of practical manuals providing guidance on how to select and use 3D printing (3DP)/additive manufacturing (AM) technology.  Each of these publications will cover a different aspect of 3DP/AM.

The first publication in the series has already been published – “The Production Manager’s Complete Guide to: 3D Printing with Metals.” Other soon-to-be-published reports in “Production Manager’s Complete Guide” series will include monographs on 3D Printing in the Medical Space, Selecting a 3DP/AM Technology Suited to Your Needs, and Low-Cost Prototyping.

We created this new series of Guides for industrial and professional 3DP/AM adopters in order to offer a practical and immediately useful tool providing insights and information for a quick and successful AM integration in current manufacturing processes,” said Lawrence Gasman, SmarTech Publishing’s President and CEO, “In order to provide the most exhaustive and complete information we are leveraging on the extensive knowledge database that we have been building by researching, analyzing and reporting on the 3D printing industry over the past four years.”

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In its new report Additive Manufacturing Opportunities in Oil and Gas Markets 2016 – A Ten-Year Forecast leading analyst firm SmarTech Publishing, paints a bright picture for the growth of additive (AM) adoption in the oil & gas industry, with global revenues expected to reach $450 million by 2021 and pass the $1.4 billion mark by 2025.
SmarTech Publishing’s new study reports that the long-term outlook for opportunities for AM in the oil & gas industry are strongly positive, throughout the ten-year forecast period. However, the oil & gas industry is lagging behind in terms of AM adoption compared to other major industries such as aerospace, medical and even automotive, and major revenue generation for AM will not materialize until 2018.  From then on, the opportunities for AM in oil & gas will grow rapidly.

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The first Additive Manufacturing Europe show, which took place in Amsterdam from June 28th to the 30th and was sponsored by SmarTech Publishing -- was tasked with the daunting challenge of helping the low-cost desktop 3D printing industry that it so well represented during the 3D Printshow years into a real and professional industry for accessible proto-typing and small series production. Led by Ultimaker and Zortrax the show and the industry now seem ready to enter into this new phase.

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Although still in its first edition, the Additive Manufacturing Europe Show in Amsterdam (sponsored by SmarTech Publishing) presented higher number of new product launches than most shows, as Poland-based Zortrax mode the loudest noise with its M300 and sev-eral other companies following closely behind

While RAPID in the US and formnext in Germany have been shaping up as the ideal sce-narios for new announcements in high-end AM applications and systems, the Additive Manufacturing Europe show in Amsterdam we believe will establish a leadership role in presenting new innovation from the low-cost 3D printing segment, as it transitions toward more prosumer and even low-end industrial applications and technologies. It is not an easy transition although it is a necessary one.

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SmarTech Publishing’s new Additive Manufacturing Opportunities in Oil and Gas Markets report, shows that additive manufacturing (AM) is still at an early stage of adoption in the oil and gas industry, however it also claims that in the near future, all sectors of this industry -- upstream, midstream and downstream – is going to benefit from AM.

Oil and gas prices are at record lows and many smaller companies in the industry are struggling, while the larger companies are reported to be considering mergers and drastic staff reductions in order to cut losses and improve gross margins, the latter being the worst they have been in 30 years. In this poor environment SmarTech Publishing believes that AM will prove a very useful tool to cut costs and streamline processes.

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