Comparing 17 vendors in 3D Printing Materials across 89 criteria.

Market Presence
Contenders Contenders
Market Leaders Market Leaders
Emerging Companies Emerging Companies
Innovators Innovators
3D Systems
Proto Labs
Carpenter Technology
GKN Powder Metallurgy
Product Footprint

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Jul 23, 2024

The 3D Printing Materials Companies Quadrant is a comprehensive industry analysis that provides valuable insights into the global market for 3D Printing Materials. This quadrant offers a detailed evaluation of key market players, technological advancements, product innovations, and emerging trends shaping the industry. MarketsandMarkets 360 Quadrants evaluated over 200 companies of which the Top 17 3D Printing Materials Companies were categorized and recognized as the quadrant leaders.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration - 3D printing is a process that creates a three-dimensional object by building successive layers of raw material. Each new layer is attached to the previous one until the object is complete. Objects are produced from a digital 3D file, such as a computer-aided design (CAD) drawing or a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI).

The technology of printing a three-dimensional (3D) object from a digital file using materials such as plastic, metal, and ceramic is called 3D printing, and the materials used are called 3D printing materials. Plastics, metals (including powders), resins, and ceramics are among the materials used in 3D printing. 3D printing materials are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Designers and engineers prefer to create functional prototypes using 3D printing materials that have the same or similar material properties as those of the final product. Plastics are the most commonly used 3D printed materials, and they are available in filament, resin, granule, and powder forms.

The development of the latest technologies and innovative materials has enabled 3D printing to become a revolutionary technology with the ability to completely alter the dynamics of the manufacturing sector. 3D printing finds applications majorly in printing parts or objects in industries such as aerospace & defense, healthcare, consumer goods, and automotive.

The 360 Quadrant efficiently maps the 3D Printing Materials companies based on criteria such as revenue, geographic presence, growth strategies, investments, and sales strategies for the market presence of the 3D Printing Materials quadrant. While the top criteria for product footprint evaluation included Material Form (Powder, Liquid, Filament), Material Type (Plastic, Metal, Ceramic), Technology Served, Application, and End-Use Industry (Automotive, Aerospace & Defense, Healthcare, and Consumer Goods, Construction).

Key trends highlighted in 360 Quadrants:

  • The global 3D printing materials market was valued at USD 2.5 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 7.9 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 25.6% during the forecasted period. This growth is attributed to the rising demand from the aerospace & defense and automotive industries.
  • Based on the type, the 3D printing materials market has been classified into plastics, metals, ceramics, and others which include wax, lay wood, and bio-inks. In 2022, it was observed that the metal segment accounted for the highest share of nearly 56%. This growth is mainly attributed to the rising demand from the aerospace and defense and automotive industries. The plastics segment accounted for the second largest share in the 3D printing materials market, as plastics are being highly consumed as these materials have enhancement properties of different grades and are finding wide applicability in the healthcare and aerospace & defense industries. Other 3D printing materials are also gaining traction through usage in various end applications.
  • In terms of form, the filament segment dominated the overall market in 2022 which is mainly due to the easy availability, reduced prices of 3D printers that use filaments to create 3D printed objects, and availability of multiple technologies used for printing. However, the powder segment dominated the market in terms of value, owing to the high prices of metal powder.
  • Various technologies are being used to create 3D-printed objects. These include Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Stereolithography (SLA), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), and other technologies. It was observed FDM dominated the 3D printing materials market owing to the ease of availability and its ability to print different types of materials. DMLS technology is further expected to grow at the fastest rate because of the rising demand for metal materials.
  • In terms of regional analysis, the North American market contributed the highest share of ~32.4% share in terms of value and nearly 30.9% share in terms of volume in 2022. This share can further increase because of the new 3D printing materials companies in the market. The North American market was followed by Europe accounting for ~32% in 2022. Whereas Asia Pacific market accounted for a market share of nearly 23.4% in 2022. The increasing demand from the healthcare and aerospace & defense industries is expected to drive the growth of this market in the Asia Pacific region. Further, countries like China, the US, Japan, Germany, and the UK are estimated to be some of the prime markets for 3D printing materials companies.
  • The materials used in 3D printing are just as important as the printers themselves. In the past, polymers were the most commonly used materials in 3D printing, however, ceramics metals, and even biocompatible materials are now available for 3D printing. The development of new 3D printing materials is expected to help 3D printing methods expand their application areas in niche sectors such as printed electronics and energy and power industries. For instance, in February 2023, Stratasys launched a new FDA-cleared resin for dental 3D printing. TrueDent resin is a monolithic, full-color 3D printed permanent dentures solution which is designed to eliminate several barriers occurring in the dental industry.
  • Composites are another rapidly emerging class of 3D printing materials and is witnessing high popularity in the aerospace and defense industries. The development of such new industrial-grade 3D printing materials is also expected to open up new growth avenues for Additive Manufacturing (AM), particularly in potential applications where the required material properties are critical. This can open up new avenues for 3D printing materials companies.
  • The 3D Printing Materials Companies that dominate the market include Stratasys, 3D Systems, Inc., Materialise, and General Electric (GE), among others. These companies account for a ~32.7% share of the market. The market has been observed to be consolidated and most of these 3D printing materials companies have a strong presence in Europe. The major strategies identified in the market include investments & expansions, mergers & acquisitions, and agreements and partnerships.
  • In 3D printing materials market, Stratasys and 3D Systems are considered as top 3D printing materials companies as they had a wide material offering in the 3D printing market including plastics, metals, ceramics, elastomers, resins and others for various end-use industries such as aerospace, automotive, healthcare and others. These 3D printing materials companies also spend substantially on R&D to develop materials for targeting all kinds of 3D printing technologies.
  • 3D printing materials companies like General Electric, Sandvik, Höganäs, and Carpenter Technology only cater to the 3D printing metals market, but they are focused on high end industries such as aerospace and industrial goods market. On the other hand, 3D printing materials companies like Arkema and Markforged are targeting 3D high performance polymer materials such as PEKK and composite materials for high end applications.
  • Other 3D printing materials companies like Materialise, Henkel, Proto Labs, and Formlabs had a wide product offering including metals, plastics and ceramics for 3D printing market and are focused on developing new materials, but their revenue is limited due to geographical restrictions, and they face huge competition from local, regional and global established players in the 3D printing materials market.
  • BASF, and Evonik Industries are emerging companies in the 3D printing materials market. BASF and Evonik industries has recently started to explore opportunities in the 3D printing ecosystem by adding polymers and resins in their product portfolios to cater to the demand of 3D printing market.
  • Continuous technological advancements and innovations in 3D printing materials coupled with the rising number of applications are changing the dynamics of 3D printing materials market. Several 3D printing materials companies are focusing on developing new materials. Some of these 3D printing materials include development of materials like fiberglass, filament made from renewable and natural materials, flexible nylon, promatte lightweight 3D printer filament, PPS (Polyphenylene Sulfide) Resin Particles, magnetic filaments, shape-shifting polymer, graphene, green cement, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) resins, and CarbonMide.

The Full List

The Full List

Company Headquarters Year Founded Holding Type
3D Systems Rock Hill, USA 1986 Public
Arkema Colombes, France 2004 Public
BASF Ludwigshafen, Germany 1865 Public
Carpenter Technology Philadelphia, USA 1889 Public
Evonik Essen, Germany‎ 2007 Public
Formlabs Somerville, USA 2011 Private
GE Boston, USA 1892 Public
GKN Powder Metallurgy Solihull, England 1934 Private
Henkel Düsseldorf, Germany 1876 Public
Huntsman The Woodlands, USA 1970 Public
Höganäs Hoganas, Sweden 1797 Private
Markforged Watertown, USA 2013 Public
Materialise Leuven, Belgium 1990 Public
Proto Labs Maple Plain, USA 1999 Public
Sandvik Stockholm, Sweden 1862 Public
Solvay Brussels, Belgium 1863 Public
Stratasys Eden Prairie, USA 1989 Public
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, uses a variety of materials to build three-dimensional items. Thermoplastics such as polylactic acid (PLA) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) are popular materials due to their ease of usage and adaptability. Other polymers, such as polyamide (nylon), polycarbonate (PC), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), have varying levels of strength and durability. Metals such as aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel can also be 3D printed using techniques such as selective laser melting (SLM) or electron beam melting (EBM). Furthermore, composite materials, resins, ceramics, and even food-grade materials have been adapted for 3D printing, boosting the possibilities for various applications and sectors.
There are several high-strength materials commonly used in 3D printing. Here are a few examples: Nylon (Polyamide): Nylon is a popular choice for high-strength applications due to its excellent mechanical properties, including high impact resistance, toughness, and durability. It has good chemical resistance and can be used for functional parts, gears, tooling, and structural components. Polycarbonate (PC): Polycarbonate is a strong and impact-resistant material that exhibits excellent heat resistance and mechanical properties. It is commonly used in applications that require high strength, such as engineering prototypes, tooling, and functional end-use parts. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Filaments: These filaments are composite materials that combine a base polymer, such as PLA or nylon, with carbon fibers. The addition of carbon fibers significantly enhances the strength, stiffness, and heat resistance of the printed parts. Carbon fiber reinforced filaments are used in various applications, including aerospace, automotive, and robotics. Ultem (Polyetherimide): Ultem is a high-performance thermoplastic known for its exceptional strength, heat resistance, and chemical resistance. It is commonly used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, and medical for applications requiring high mechanical performance and thermal stability. Metal Filaments: There are metal-based filaments available for 3D printing that contain a percentage of metal particles mixed with a polymer matrix. These filaments enable the creation of metal-like objects with improved strength and weight. While the printed parts are not pure metal, they can have enhanced mechanical properties suitable for certain applications. It's important to note that printing with these high-strength materials often requires specialized 3D printers with higher temperature capabilities and, in some cases, heated beds or enclosures. Additionally, the optimal settings and techniques for printing these materials may vary, so it's advisable to consult specific material and printer manufacturer guidelines for best results.
There are several types of 3D printing technologies commonly used today. Here are some of the main ones: Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF): This is the most popular and widely accessible 3D printing method. It involves melting and extruding thermoplastic filament through a nozzle to build layers and create the object. Stereolithography (SLA): SLA uses a liquid photopolymer resin that solidifies when exposed to UV light. A UV laser or projector selectively cures the resin layer by layer to create the desired object. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS): SLS uses a high-power laser to selectively fuse powdered materials, such as nylon or metal, layer by layer. The unbound powder supports the printed object during the process. Digital Light Processing (DLP): Similar to SLA, DLP uses a light source (usually a projector) to cure liquid resin layer by layer. However, instead of using a laser, the entire layer is cured simultaneously. Binder Jetting: This process involves selectively depositing a binding agent onto a powdered material, layer by layer. The layers are then bonded together to form the object. It can be used with various materials, including sand, metal, and ceramic powders. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) or Selective Laser Melting (SLM): These techniques use a high-powered laser to selectively fuse or melt metal powders, layer by layer, to create metal parts with complex geometries. Electron Beam Melting (EBM): EBM is similar to SLM but uses an electron beam instead of a laser to melt and fuse metal powders, typically in a vacuum environment. These are just a few examples of the various 3D printing technologies available. Each method has its own advantages, materials compatibility, and applications.
Several software tools are used for 3D printing. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, such as Autodesk Fusion 360, SolidWorks, and Tinkercad, enables the creation and modification of 3D models. Slicing software, including Ultimaker Cura, PrusaSlicer, and Simplify3D, converts 3D models into printable instructions by generating the necessary toolpaths. MeshLab and Netfabb are used for mesh repair and analysis. Meshmixer and Autodesk Netfabb assist in preparing and optimizing models for 3D printing. Additionally, some 3D printer manufacturers offer their proprietary software, often including slicing capabilities tailored to their specific printers. The choice of software depends on the user's requirements and expertise.
Yes, it is possible to 3D print flexible materials. Flexible filaments, such as TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane), TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer), and Ninjaflex, are commonly used for 3D printing flexible parts. These materials offer good elasticity and durability, making them suitable for applications that require flexibility, such as phone cases, watchbands, and medical devices. To print with flexible materials, a direct drive extruder is typically required, as these materials are prone to buckling in Bowden-type extruders. Additionally, lower print speeds and reduced retraction settings are recommended to achieve better results and avoid filament jams.
In medical applications, materials like biocompatible resins, PEEK (polyetheretherketone), and other sterilizable plastics are used for 3D printing surgical models, implants, prosthetics, and anatomical models.
Yes, there are food-grade materials available for 3D printing. One such material is Food-Safe PLA, which is a variant of PLA filament specifically designed to be safe for contact with food. Food-Safe PLA is made from FDA-approved food-grade materials, ensuring that it meets safety standards for food contact. It is commonly used to 3D print food-related objects such as custom cookie cutters, cake toppers, and decorations. It's important to note that while the printed objects themselves may be food-safe, the 3D printer components, such as the nozzle, should also be food-grade or properly cleaned to maintain hygiene.
While 3D printing with actual wood is not possible, there are wood-like filaments made from a combination of polymers and wood fibers that give a similar appearance and texture to printed objects.
Important factors to consider include the desired properties (strength, flexibility, heat resistance), the intended application, printer compatibility, cost, and availability of the material. It's essential to choose a material that meets the specific requirements of the intended use case.
Yes, there are transparent materials like clear resins or filament-based materials that can be used for 3D printing transparent or translucent objects, such as prototypes, lenses, or light diffusers.
Top 3D printing materials companies like General Electric (GE), Stratasys, Carpenter Technology, and 3D Systems are recognized as quadrant leaders, contributing significantly to the market.
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360 Quadrants

360 Quadrants is a scientific research methodology by MarketsandMarkets to understand market leaders in 6000+ micro markets

360 Quadrants

360 Quadrants is a scientific research methodology by MarketsandMarkets to understand market leaders in 6000+ micro markets

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