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Materials Informatics can Revolutionize the 3D Printing Market

The 3D printing market is diverse; certain materials and applications are seeing significant commercial growth while others are still overcoming technical and economic barriers to adoption. The next decade will undoubtedly see many changes with plenty of revenue to be generated. One thing that will be central to all of this will be the materials; an expanded and adaptable portfolio will be essential to any success. Materials informatics is an exciting new field involving data-centric approaches to materials R&D; this is impacting numerous sectors, including that of 3D printing. It is already proving to be a natural collaboration between these two emerging technologies.

IDTechEx forecast the market to be worth $18.4bn by 2030 for 3D printing materials alone, and the market activity from major companies clearly demonstrates this opportunity as they position themselves to get a significant market share. We have seen multiple key news stories from chemical giants including BASF, Evonik, Mitsubishi Chemical, DSM, and many more over recent years.

The polymer market is anticipated to see a period of consolidation, inevitable with a maturing technology, but that does not mean the material market’s evolution is anywhere near complete. The metal additive manufacturing market is anticipated to grow to $15.5 bn by 2030 after a period of decline brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a large amount of change in this field; within the powder supply chain, we have seen multiple targeted acquisitions and expansions, and there is still a large amount of technology innovation and progression typified by the binder jetting and bound metal developments. Beyond metals and polymers, there is a huge amount of attention going into ceramics, composites, multi-material solutions, and more, all with their own challenges and disruptors.

One of the key barriers to adoption across the field has been the range of materials available and their properties. Designers are used to having a huge range of materials to choose from, and having that selection dramatically shrunk has hindered the market impact. Materials still need to be engineered for each printing process and application, for which the race is on.

IDTechEx has covered this topic in detail, and more information on the technology, players, and application areas can be found in the market report.

3D printing has presented an obvious target for the use of materials informatics and is already producing some very promising results.