SmarTech Publishing, the leading industry analysis and consulting firm to the additive manufacturing (AM) industry, has released a new industry-first market opportunity study on the emerging area of refractory metal additive manufacturing.
The report titled, “Markets for Additive Manufacturing Using Refractory Metals: 2018-2027” sees AM technology as a potentially disruptive processing method for tungsten, tantalum, niobium, and molybdenum materials which will unlock new potential for producing refractory metal components worldwide. SmarTech’s report sees market growth of almost 45 percent compounded annually through 2027.
About the Report:
Refractory metals are an extraordinary class of materials known primarily for their very high melting points, but more importantly for their exceptional properties which make them amongst the most desired materials for extreme performance applications. At the same time, they are also some of the least understood and difficult to process metals in all of modern metallurgy. Additive manufacturing technologies officially broke into the world of refractory metals in a commercial sense around 2014 and are now the subject of ongoing research and investigation to build more applications and a worldwide value proposition to the existing refractory metals market.
This first of its kind study focuses on providing insights into three major areas of refractory metals additive manufacturing:
• What is the technological readiness level of the major metal additive manufacturing processes in terms of producing viable refractory metal parts for industry?
• What are the current commercial and research efforts, and which firms or entities are leading the early-stage market for refractory metal additive manufacturing?
• Which areas of application are likely to be the most influential in terms of a viable worldwide commercial market and influencing the existing refractory metals manufacturing industry?
To answer these questions, SmarTech Publishing has applied its industry-renowned additive manufacturing adoption and market models and utilizes them to provide market forecasts on metal powder shipments in refractory-based materials to the additive manufacturing industry, opportunity sizing of potential refractory metal AM application areas, and potential for AM machine sales to process refractory metal materials.
From the Report:
• Use of refractory metals is most common in the areas of alloying with other more common metals to impart some of the extraordinary properties of refractory metals onto more accessible materials. Additive manufacturing technology’s primary opportunity in refractory metals is to increase the ability for users to produce finished parts directly from refractory-based materials to unlock their full potential, rather than rely on alloying them with other metals which are more easily workable
• While molybdenum is the world’s most widely produced refractory metal, tungsten is currently, and will remain, the most widely additively manufactured refractory material in the world thanks to its usefulness as a directly-printable material for medical, aerospace, and general industrial applications. While powder bed fusion processes have already developed early stage abilities to produce thin-walled components of pure tungsten, bound metal printing techniques like binder jetting hold enormous potential to expand on the current efforts in printing of tungsten carbide materials to unlock the potential of printed components for markets like oil and gas, mining, and many more
• Although there are just a few thousand tons of tantalum powders produced every year in the world, additive manufacturing technologies will grow to account for up to 15 percent of the world’s future tantalum powder consumption thanks to the combined properties of the material and viable AM applications in producing medical implants, surgical tools, chemical processing equipment, and more.
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