Best 3D Printing Solutions3D printing, often known as additive manufacturing, is a technique for layering a three-dimensional structure using a computer-generated template. 3D printing is an additive method in which layers of material are lined up to form a three-dimensional object. As a consequence, there is less waste from 3D printing.
Best 3D Printing Solutions 2021
- STRATASYS LTD
- 3D SYSTEMS CORPORATION
- VOXELJET AG
- EOS GMBH
- MATERIALISE NV
- SLM SOLUTIONS GROUP
- PROTO LABS INC
- RENISHAW PLC
- CleanGreen 3D
The method of creating 3D solid object from a digital file is known as 3D printing, also known as AM (additive manufacturing). The object is made using additive processes, which include joining together successive layers of materials. Reduced number of manufacturing steps for complex and personalised goods, faster delivery time, lower logistics and production costs, and high sustainability and reliability in production due to reduced material and energy usage are only a few of the advantages of 3D printing over traditional production techniques [such as CNC milling]. Prototypes, tooling, and end-user usable parts are created using the best 3D Printing Solutions in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace & defence, healthcare, jewellery, education, tooling, consumer goods, and more.
The best 3D Printing Solutions fills the gap between prototyping and mass production, which is critical for low-volume manufacturing. Traditional mass manufacturing, with its expensive moulds and massive factories, is prohibitively expensive for these items, and 3D printing will be the most cost-effective form of production. The growth of the Best 3D Printing Solutions market is being fueled by factors such as the ease with which personalised products can be created, the reduction of manufacturing costs and process downtime, government investments in 3D printing projects, and the production of new industrial-grade 3D printing materials. However, limited availability and high cost of materials, limitation of product size, and lack of standard process control are restraining the market growth.
Because of the potential advantages of this technology over other current technologies, the best 3D Printing Solutions players have openings in almost all industries. The potential for 3D printing technology to improve manufacturing and supply chain management, as well as an untapped opportunity in verticals such as printed electronics, education, jewellery, oil, and food, are just a few of the possibilities. It does, however, face problems in terms of product quality assurance and the possibility of copyright infringement.
Headlight housing for high-priced cars, steering parts for vehicles powered from the right side, and housing for specialty machines are only a few examples of small-batch items. In addition, lightweight aircraft and vehicle design is a key application field for AM. In the automotive industry, lightweight construction is an undisputed construction concept because it helps to reduce fuel consumption and pollution.
The competitive leadership mapping showcased provides information for the best 3D Printing Solutions. The vendors are evaluated on two different parameters: Product Offerings and Business Strategy.
This category of best 3D Printing Solutions includes 3D Systems, Stratasys, VOXELJET, Arcam, EOS, Materialise, and SLM Solutions.
This category of 3D Printing Solutions includes Proto Labs, Renishaw, Groupe Gorge, and DSM.
This category of Best 3D Printing Solutions includes TAULMAN, Ultimaker, Concept Laser, Optomec, Nano Dimension, CleanGreen 3D, Markforged, and EnvisionTec.
This category of 3D Printing Solutions includes BEIJING TIERTIME, HOGANAS AB, ARC GROUP, and XYZPrinting.
This section describes the major factors influencing the global Best 3D printing solutions market, including drivers, restraints, challenges, and opportunities.
Production of customised products is easy.
The best 3D printing solutions allows you to create custom items based on your specific needs and specifications. While 3D printing is still mostly used for prototyping because it eliminates scrap and reworks, the trend is now turning toward the production of usable parts and tooling equipment. Due to the ability to produce complex designs without the need for special knowledge, the best 3D Printing Solutions often allows manufacturers to conduct critical trial and error processes for physical objects.
Manufacturing costs and process downtime are reduced.
Since 3D Printing Solutions can minimise the time it takes to design and manufacture usable components, prototypes can be produced quickly without having to reconfigure or retool the manufacturing line. Best 3D printing solutions removes the need for costly tool manufacturing for low-to-medium volume applications, resulting in lower prices, lead times, and labour.
Investments by the government in 3D printing ventures
Governments around the world are launching programmes and providing grants to educational institutions, research centres, and research and technology organisations in order to better understand and promote the use of 3D printing technology. Global initiatives for encouraging university-level 3D printing research have been introduced in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, which is driving technological development and the establishment of start-ups. The development of new applications for the best 3D printing technologies has piqued the interest of industrialists and governments all over the world.
New industrial-grade 3D printing materials are being developed.
The materials that are used in 3D printing are just as critical as the printers themselves. Metals, ceramics, and even biocompatible materials are now being made available for 3D printing. Polymers were once the most widely used materials in 3D printing. The creation of new materials for Best 3D Printing Solutions will help 3D printing methods broaden their application field into niche sectors like printed electronics and the energy and power industries.
Materials are in short supply and are expensive.
Traditional manufacturing processes have access to a wider variety of raw materials than 3D printing-based manufacturing processes. Circuit boards, for example, are still being developed using 3D printing with mixed materials and technology. The materials that can be used are still small, despite the fact that technology is a major process breakthrough. In addition, due to a lack of proper specifications for the mechanical properties of the materials used, the accuracy and reproducibility of products produced by 3D printing are hampered.
Item size limitations
3D printing is a cutting-edge technology that has the ability to change the way industrial production is done. Manufacturers can print almost any form with a variety of materials (polymers, metals, ceramics, sand, paper, and living tissue). The size of the items that can be printed, however, is currently restricted by 3D printers. Size restrictions apply to parts produced additively using the 3D printing process. The most affordable 3D printers on the market today are small enough to fit on a desktop and have similar designed chamber sizes.
Process management isn't uniform.
Due to uncontrollable process variables and material variations depending on system and manufacturer, the accuracy of each 3D printing process varies. Just a few monitoring techniques currently exist that follow clear requirements by correcting process inconsistencies in the best 3D Printing Solutions. Due to the limited data available for process control, developing comprehensive and accurate mathematical models using 3D printing is difficult, particularly in complex and sophisticated applications (such as aerospace, military/defense, and healthcare).
Possibility of enhancing production processes and supply chain management
3D printing has progressed from its initial uses in modelling and prototyping to the production of usable components. 3D printing, unlike conventional manufacturing methods, can help solve multiple problems (such as higher tooling costs) associated with traditional manufacturing processes used for rapid prototyping and short production runs, among others, because 3D printing removes the need for tooling. Traditional manufacturing can be less costly per unit made, but it has a high initial cost in the form of tooling, making low-volume manufacturing more expensive.
Ensuring the standard of the commodity
Particularly in the aerospace and medical device industries, the best 3D Printing Solutions allows for highly customised designs and products. However, the material specifications for AM of functional products are restricted, limiting AM's ability to manufacture highly customised products. The 3D printing industry faces a challenge in ensuring the quality of end products, particularly when they are produced repeatedly on the same or different printing machines. The quality of goods, particularly in terms of precision and efficiency, is determined by a number of factors, including materials, printing technology, and the environment in the printer, particularly temperature and pressure; any changes in these factors would have an impact on the end product's quality. In the near future, however, technical advances in current Best 3D Printing Solutions technology and the development of new materials tailored to specific application needs are expected to address this product quality challenge.
Copyright infringement is a threat.
With the growing use of this technology and the expiration of patents, 3D printers are likely to become very popular. Companies have also begun uploading their files to websites for consumers to select their goods, with the products then being sent to the customers. Customers may expect a higher level of customization for the goods they buy as a result of increased use. Increased market acceptance can lead to an increase in 3D piracy, or customers' willingness to manufacture products themselves rather than purchasing them from suppliers. Some businesses have even begun to share 3D files on their websites, increasing the risk of piracy even higher. This could lead to unauthorised reproduction of copyright-protected designs, which is a major concern for industrial 3D Printing Solutions designers.
3D PRINTING MARKET, BY TECHNOLOGY
The 3D printers available in the market are based on different technologies such as stereolithography (SLA), fused deposition modeling (FDM), selective laser sintering (SLS), direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), polyjet/multijet printing (MJP), inkjet printing, electron beam melting (EBM), laser metal deposition (LMD), laminated object manufacturing (LOM), and digital light processing (DLP). DMLS, SLS, and FDM are the most widely used 3D printing technologies.
HIGH-QUALITY SURFACE FINISH PROVIDED BY SLA MAKES IT IDEAL FOR CONCEPT MODELS, FORM AND FIT STUDIES, AND INVESTMENT CASTING PATTERNS
SLA is a laser-based 3D printing technology that uses UV laser to cure and solidify thin layers of a photo-reactive resin. In this technology, a UV laser beam is projected on the photopolymer resin held in a vat, which hardens where the laser is directed. On the completion of one layer, the vat drops, and the subsequent layer is similarly cured by the UV laser. This process continues until the creation of the desired model. SLA is ideal for concept models, form and fit studies, and investment casting patterns as the technology provides a high-quality surface finish.
SLA-based 3D printing is used in the creation of anatomical models, lightweight concept models, architectural models, urethane casting patterns, and large investment cast patterns, among others. 3D Systems (US), Form Labs (US), Autodesk (US), and 3D Ceram (France) are some of the major companies offering 3D printers based on the SLA technology and services related them.
FUSED DEPOSITION MODELLING
FDM IS CLEAN, SIMPLE-TO-USE, AND OFFICE-FRIENDLY 3D PRINTING TECHNOLOGY
FDM technology is also known as fused filament fabrication (FFF) and plastic jet printing (PJP), is used to create concept models, functional parts, and end-use parts. The FDM technology uses strong, stable, and durable thermoplastic materials in filament form. The technology involves the layer-by-layer deposition of molten plastic material through an extruder onto the built platform; the model being built hardens after each newly added layer binds to the previous layer. Removable support material is deposited in the tray for organic shapes that require support. This support material can be removed easily through post-processing.
FDM is a clean, simple-to-use, and office-friendly 3D printing technology. It supports production-grade thermoplastics, which are mechanically and environmentally stable, and the technology is used to develop complex geometries and cavities. The applications of the FDM technology include manufacturing aids, jigs and fixtures, carbon fiber lay-up tooling, functional prototypes, and low-volume production parts. Stratasys (US), Ultimaker (Netherlands), and Afinia 3D (US) are some of the leading companies providing FDM-based 3D printing systems and services.
SELECTIVE LASER SINTERING
SLS DOES NOT REQUIRE SUPPORT FOR MATERIALS—POWDER BED ITSELF ACTS AS SUPPORT
The SLS technology uses a laser beam to fuse powdered thermoplastics. Compared to the technologies such as SLA and FDM, SLS does not require support for materials as the powder bed itself acts as a support. SLS is an affordable 3D printing technology that can be used to build durable and stable production parts in low volumes. The SLS-based 3D printers are also effective in producing high-volume components, which are too complex to build via a traditional manufacturing process. SLS has the ability to produce complex features, undercuts, and internal features, such as screw threads and threading tapped holes, with ease; moreover, these all can be produced in a single-step process. The printers based on SLS are capable of producing movable parts and parts with joints, snap fits, and living hinges. SLS-based 3D printing is deployed in the aerospace & defense, electronics, and automotive industries as well as in the healthcare, energy, and engineering sectors.
DIRECT METAL LASER SINTERING
USE OF MATERIALS SUCH AS INCONEL, ALUMINUM, STAINLESS STEEL, AND TITANIUM MAKES PARTS DEVELOPED FROM DMLS DURABLE
The printing process of the DMLS-based 3D printers is similar to that of the SLS-based 3D printers. The difference lies in the materials used in these printing technologies; DMLS is used for building metallic entities, while SLS is used for the printing of plastic-based entities. The parts developed from DMLS are durable and resistant to heat as it uses materials such as Inconel, aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. The DMLS-based 3D printing process is ideal for developing complex oil and gas components, custom medical guides, consolidated aerospace parts, and tough functional prototypes owing to its ability to provide fine feature details.
POLYJET PRINTING/MULTIJET PRINTING
MJP IS USED TO DEVELOP HIGHLY ACCURATE MODELS WITH INTRICATE DETAILS AND COMPLEX GEOMETRIES
The PolyJet/MultiJet Printing (MJP) technology is an inkjet 3D printing method that is used to develop highly accurate models with intricate details and complex geometries. In PolyJet 3D printing, a layer of liquid photopolymer is deposited onto a build tray; the deposition is then cured by UV light to create a solid plastic-like material. The layers of UV-cured photopolymers accumulate on a build tray to create a 3D model. The printer also jets a gel-like support material to support the complex structures. A PolyJet 3D printer has 2 or more jetting heads. This technology is used by designers and engineers to develop and demonstrate final products with a smooth surface finishing. The printers based on this technology are used to develop presentation models; form and fit models; medical device prototypes; master patterns; flexible, rubber-like models; and prototypes for fittings, valves, and parts with complex interior features. Stratasys (US) and 3D Systems (US) are the leading companies in the 3D printing market that provide printing solutions based on the PolyJet technology. HP launched the multijet fusion technology 3D printer line in 2016 for small- to medium-sized businesses.
INKJET PRINTING ENABLES BUILDING OF MULT IPLE DIFFERENT PARTS ON SINGLE PRINT BED
Inkjet 3D printing technology, also known as binder jetting technology, involves the selective deposition of a liquid binding agent to join the powder particles, and the layers of powder material are bonded to form an object. Inkjet printing does not employ heat in the printing process, unlike other technologies wherein heat can create residual stress in the parts. Inkjet printing enables the building of multiple different parts on a single print bed. This technology is used in the development of castings, filtration, pumps, and prosthetics. It is used in the fields of aerospace, automotive, decorative/art, education, energy, foundries and pattern shops, heavy equipment, and research and development labs.
ELECTRON BEAM MELTING
PRINTERS BASED ON EBM TECHNOLOGY PRODUCE HIGH-DENSITY PARTS AND HAVE RELAT IVELY GOOD MECHANICAL PROPERTIES
In EBM, the 3D printing process takes place in vacuum and high-temperature conditions, and an electron beam selectively melts down the metal powder. The printers based on the EBM technology produce high-density parts and have relatively good mechanical properties such as low fatigue and high yield strength compared to traditional manufacturing technologies. EBM works with a limited number of materials and is an expensive 3D printing technology. The products developed using EBM include small series parts, prototypes for form/fit and functional testing, and support parts such as jigs and fixtures. EBM is used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, and healthcare.
LASER METAL DEPOSITION
LMD PRINTERS HELP REDUCE MATERIAL WASTAGE AND LOWER TOOLING COSTS
LMD involves the use of a laser beam, which is used to form a melt pool on the surface of existing tools and components, over which one or more metal powders are sprayed through a nozzle. The powder then melts and bonds with the base material. A computer numerical control (CNC) robot or gantry system is used to guide the laser and nozzle that delivers the powder. LMD 3D printing technology 3D printers benefit by reducing the material waste, lowering the tooling costs, repairing the parts that are costly to replace, minimizing the lead time, and customizing the parts according to the requirement. The LMD technology involves the repair, cladding, and production of parts. Some of the common applications of the printers based on this technology include repairing mold tool surfaces and high-value parts such as aeroengine components as well as military vehicles; tipping turbine blades with protective coatings; and surfacing oil and gas drilling components. LPW Technology (UK), Trumpf (Germany), Norsk Titanium (Norway), and DM3D Technology (US) are the major companies offering 3D printers, and printing services and solutions based on LMD. In November 2015, Toshiba (Japan) showcased its LMD-based metal 3D printer, whose fabrication speed is claimed to be 10-times faster than that of powder bed fusion printers.
DIGITAL LIGHT PROCESSING
DLP-BASED 3D PRINTERS PRODUCE ACCURATE PARTS WITH SMOOTH SURFACE FINISHING
DLP 3D printing technology is similar to SLA as both the technologies use photopolymers as materials. However, DLP uses convenient light sources such as digital micromirror device, while SLA uses laser. DLP 3D printing technology produces accurate parts with smooth surface finishing. Compared to SLA, DLP requires a shallow vat of resin, which results in less material wastage and lower running cost. The applications of DLP-based 3D printing include rapid fit and function model prototyping, tooling and metal casting mold manufacturing, hearing aids and medical implant manufacturing, dental restoration, jewelry casting, automotive component manufacturing, and aerospace component manufacturing.
LAMINATED OBJECT MANUFACTURING
LOM IS IDEAL FOR DEVELOPING PROTOTYPES, MODELS, AND MOLDS
The LOM-based 3D printers implement the sheet lamination process, which generally involves paper as the printing material and adhesives for binding the sheets. In this technology, the material is rolled on the building platform and coated with an adhesive layer, which is then heated by a heat roller to melt the adhesive so that the layers are bound to one another. The technology uses a blade or a laser to draw the geometry of the object which can be extracted as the final object. Cubic Technologies (US) is a major player in the 3D printing market offering printers enabled with LOM. This technology is ideal for developing prototypes, models, and molds.
OTHER TECHNOLOGIES INCLUDE CONTINUOUS LIQUID INTERFACE PRODUCTION, SELECTIVE HEAT SINTERING, NANOPARTICLE JETTING, AND MULTIPHASE JET SOLIDIFICATION
The other technologies used in 3D printing include continuous liquid interface production, selective heat sintering, nanoparticle jetting, multiphase jet solidification, and various other proprietary technologies, such as Multi Jet Fusion by HP (US).
3D Printing Solutions
Stratasys offers a wide range of systems, consumables, and services for 3D printing based on their 3D printing materials and technologies. The company provides a broad product portfolio segmented into idea series, production series, design series, and dental series. Stratasys develops high-quality materials, namely, FDM thermoplastics and PolyJet photopolymers, which include dental materials, ABS, biocompatible polymers, nylons, and high temperature materials.
3D Systems Corporation is a global provider of 3D printing centric solutions, including 3D printers, cloud-sourced custom parts, and print materials. Its product portfolio includes desktop 3D printers and advanced 3D production systems used in rapid prototyping or direct digital manufacturing. The company has an extensive range of materials, namely, metals, plastics, ceramics, and edibles. 3D Systems serves customers in a number of industries, including the automotive, education, aerospace, healthcare, and consumer markets.
VOXELJET provides 3D printers and on-demand part services to industrial and commercial customers. The company manufactures, develops, and markets 3D printers under its Systems business segment, it also sells refurbished 3D printers through the same. The Services business segment of the company offers print-on-demand parts to its customers. Voxeljet offers 3D printing systems, materials, and related printing services to a diverse range of industries including foundries, automotive, reverse engineering, aerospace, pumps and heavy industry, architecture, art and design, and film and museums.
Materialise is a provider of additive manufacturing (AM) software solutions and complex 3D printing services for industries such as healthcare, industrial manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, art and architecture, and consumer goods. The manufacturing business segment of the company provides 3D printing services for the designing of models, rapid prototyping services, and customized printing services for the parts required for industrial and commercial customers.
SLM Solutions offers metal-based additive manufacturing systems of high-quality metal components and prototypes. The solutions are used by various industries like automotive, aerospace, energy, healthcare, and tool making. The 3D printers from the company enable the direct production of metal components from a large number of source materials, such as aluminum, titanium, cobalt-chrome, Inconel, tool steel or stainless steel, and superalloys.
EnvisionTEC GmbH manufactures customized 3D printer solutions. The company is engaged in providing 3D printers, printing materials, replacement parts, training, and other services. It primarily focuses on selective light modulation technology to produce rapid prototyping systems. EnvisionTEC provides 3D printing solutions in a wide range of sectors, including, biofabrication & medical, hearing aids, jewelry, dental, auto manufacturing, consumer, and design. In the dental industry, EnvisionTEC 3D printers are used for CAD-based (computer-aided design) dental restorations, for which it offers a broad portfolio of dental and orthodontic applications.
Protolabs is an online and technology-enabled, on-demand manufacturer of custom parts for prototyping and short-run production. The company provides 3D printing services, CNC machining, and injection molding services to its customers, including product developers, designers, and engineers from a diverse range of industries.
Renishaw offers a wide range of products under its 3D laser scanning & measurement and metal 3D printing category. The company's products are used in a wide range of industries, such as agriculture, automotive, aerospace, construction, Powergen, medical, and consumer products. Renishaw is involved in 3D printing and has its business mainly in the U.K., where it designs and manufactures industrial machines that utilize metal powder for printing 3D parts.
Mcor Technologies (CleanGreen 3D) designs, develops and manufactures paper-based 3D printing systems. The company manufactures eco-friendly 3D printers, which use A4 size/letter papers as the build material and prints in high-resolution colors. The company has positioned itself as a key provider of color 3D printing technology in the 3D printing market. The industries served by the company include education, service bureaus, manufacturing and industrial, geospatial, architecture, fine arts and culture, entertainment, and medical.
Concept Laser’s customers come from numerous segments of industry, for instance medical and dental technology, aerospace, toolmaking and mold construction, the automotive industry and the watch and jewellery industry. Amongst the other materials, Concept Laser’s 3D metal printers have the ability to process powder constituents of stainless steel and hot-work steels, aluminium and titanium alloys and – for jewellery making – precious metals.
Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis process facilitates the expansion of functional prototypes and end-use parts on a single machine. With top quality materials, unequalled in performance and breadth, Carbon offers the right material for the customer’s project. Whether Carbon is being used for prototyping, low capacity production, or high capacity manufacturing, it has been proven dependable in the hardest environments.
Taulman3D's AM production services delivers parts to its customers through a dedicated 3d printing lab with numerous systems in use, the company’s polymer proficiency and high-level quality control procedures for each batch. The company 3d prints big, high strength, chemical resilient, heat resistant, supple, medical-grade and developmental parts, with exact tolerances, for its industrial clients in numerous sectors.
Groupe Gorge is a market leader in industrial and professional 3D printing. The Group creates a complete range of industrial 3D printing solutions and spans the whole value chain along with design of printable plastics and machines, addition of 3D design software, prototyping and serial production.
Arcam EBM offers a demonstrated additive manufacturing process for capacity production of metal constituents. The technology offers freedom in design combined with excellent material properties and high productivity that drives cost savings.
Markforged offers industrial-grade materials that allow engineers to create functional parts for manufacturing environments. The total line of rugged Markforged 3D printers and systems have been made to produce dependable, repeatable results. The company offers a safe platform that integrates flawlessly.
Ultimaker 3D printers are perfect for a wide range of applications and have the capacity to deliver the quality results. Be it one-click printing from CAD or to prepare the print to the hand-picked detail – the software tools match any workflow, with easy print management via the cloud.
Nano Dimension focuses more on the research and development of progressive 3D electronics printing, along with a printer for printing PCBs (printed circuit boards), and the creating of nanotechnology-based ink products, which are harmonizing products for 3D printers.
Optomec’s production-ready Additive Manufacturing methods provide cost savings and new potentials. Optomec Aerosol Jet printers are also used in the building and fabrication of next generation microelectronic devices. The exclusive ability to print electronics straight onto 3D surfaces makes Aerosol Jet a perfect solution for decreasing device size and weight.
ExOne’s 3D printing technology is proficient enough of managing difficulty beyond what is likely with old-style manufacturing technology methods. Additionally, design alterations can be made on the 3D CAD file in seconds and reprinted without complex and expensive changes. With a high print speed and boundless part geometry, ExOne is the right choice for printing cost-effective, modified parts using industrial-grade materials.
XYZprinting’s 3D printers demand no assembly or equipment modification, delivering a very simple-to-use device for all user levels- beginner to expert designers. It is a comprehensive solution with innovative and user-friendly capabilities of XYZprinting’s current high-quality and top-selling printers, such as smart filament cartridge systems, nozzle cleaning, and a 1 year limited warranty at no-cost, the da Vinci 1.0 AiO is the best value 3D printing solution accessible.
Tiertime is China’s first 3D printer manufacturer and it initially launched the nation’s entry into the additive manufacturing age with the Inspire industrial line. Through eras of reliable technological progression, the company has made its place as an acknowledged world leader in manufacturing and prototyping solutions. Keen to dependability and improvement of the end-user experience, the company’s original vision remains – quality, reasonable 3D printing, supplying to a broad range of industries and usage requirements.
Hoganas offers a very high level of material know-how and a complete portfolio of high quality metals for additive manufacturing. It also supports in achieving finest product properties with additive manufacturing. The company’s refined steel powders for example are the preferred choice for prototyping and tooling applications.