The Additive Manufacturing Industry Landscape 2019: 171 Companies Driving the Industry Forward [Updated]
27 February 2019
Update 26/05/2020: We’ve now published our Additive Manufacturing Landscape 2020 report and infographic, featuring 231 organisations that are helping to drive digital manufacturing. Check out the full article here.
Additive manufacturing has gone through somewhat of a revolution over the last five to ten years. At one time thought to be a consumer-oriented technology, AM has now evolved into a viable industrial manufacturing solution.
As of 2019, the additive manufacturing industry is estimated to be worth over $9 billion dollars. While this is still a fraction of the wider $12 trillion manufacturing industry, the landscape is evolving rapidly, creating massive opportunities for the industry as a whole.
As new players continue to enter the market and new technologies are developed, now is an exciting time to be a part of the change.
With these constant shifts in the market landscape, it can be difficult for manufacturers to keep track of the key companies offering solutions across the spectrum of AM.
For this reason, in February 2019, AMFG published the industry’s first Additive Manufacturing Landscape, showcasing the range of companies shaping the future of the industry.
The purpose of this landscape was to provide manufacturers and industry stakeholders with a better understanding of the current AM market, and use this to benchmark the evolution of the industry.
The response to our first infographic was far more than we could have anticipated, and we received numerous suggestions for more companies to include. Taking the feedback on board, we’ve updated the landscape and put together a whitepaper looking in detail at the key findings.
What is the Additive Manufacturing Landscape?
The additive manufacturing industry is evolving rapidly and keeping up with the key companies can be a challenge.
In an effort to categorise this thriving ecosystem, we’ve put together the industry’s first Additive Manufacturing Landscape.
The graphic compiles 171 companies that are driving additive manufacturing towards industrialisation. These companies are divided into the following categories:
- Hardware manufacturers (Polymers, desktop, metals and electronics)
- Software vendors (Design & CAD, workflow and security)
- Materials suppliers (Polymers, composites and metals)
- Post-processing system manufacturers
- Quality assurance and process inspection
- Research institutions and centres
Which companies are included?
When putting this graphic together, we’ve decided to focus on industrial 3D printing.
This means that the graphic only includes companies that primarily offer B2B products and services. We’ve therefore removed from consideration 3D printing companies that are consumer-focused, this time around.
Of course, there are also many more categories that we could have added — service bureaus being a great example.
However, for the sake of simplicity, we’ve decided not to include service bureaus or companies whose primary business is manufacturing services. This will be included in a future graphic.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the landscape:
The figures shown in the chart above exclude the 11 research institutions featured in the landscape.
Metal machines dominate
- By far the largest segment, in terms of the number of companies, is the metal 3D printer category, of which 44 manufacturers are included. These companies offer a range of metal 3D printing technologies, from traditional powder bed fusion technologies to new, proprietary techniques.
The unicorn trifecta
- At the time of writing, there are three 3D printing companies that have reached unicorn status — a valuation of over $1 billion. Interestingly, they are all hardware manufacturers: Desktop Metal (metal), Carbon (polymer) and Formlabs (desktop).
- The landscape has been marked by key mergers and acquisitions across the board, from ANSYS’ acquisitions of 3DSIM (2017) and material company, Granta Design (2019), to GE’s acquisitions of both Concept Laser and Arcam (2017).
Non-AM companies eye new opportunities in the industry
- Notably, companies outside of the manufacturing industry are increasingly seeing 3D printing as a ripe opportunity. One recent example is Xerox, which recently acquired Vader Systems, a startup that develops liquid metal 3D printers. Xerox has, of course, been added to the graphic.
A closer look at each segment
Hardware makes up the lion’s share of the AM landscape.
As the number of companies looking to integrate AM for production continues to rise, hardware manufacturers are looking to meet this demand with industrial-grade systems that can print faster and more accurately.
It’s worth noting here that many of the companies offer solutions across the spectrum of polymer, metal and desktop machines. A number are also active in other segments, developing proprietary materials and software, for example.
Polymer systems: a steadily evolving landscape
Polymer 3D printing has come a long way since its origins as a rapid prototyping technology. But it’s not just the technology itself that has evolved – so has the number of companies offering machines that produce high-quality, industrial-grade polymer parts.
Coupled with the emergence of high-performance polymer materials (as we’ll explore below), polymer 3D printing is clearly maturing into an industrial solution for both prototypes and end parts.
While the graphic above highlights the well-established names (3D Systems, EOS, Stratasys), there are a number of relatively new players offering new technologies to disrupt the segment.
Carbon is one of them. Carbon’s 3D printers use its proprietary CLIP (Continuous Liquid Interface Production) process and Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology to produce parts that are said to be injection-moulding standard. Carbon has had a meteoric rise, with key partnerships with companies of the likes of Adidas, Ford and Lamborghini.
Nexa3D is another company looking to disrupt the current landscape with its high-speed, industrial-grade stereolithography 3D printers. It has also developed its own technology – Lubricant Sublayer Photo-curing, short for LSPc. Through its LSPc technology, Nexa3D hopes to reduce production times and offer greater part accuracy.
Desktop machines: Looking towards enterprise
Historically, desktop 3D printing was consumer-focused, with the prevailing thought being that every household would soon own a 3D printer. This, of course, has turned out not to be the case, and in recent years, desktop manufacturers have turned their attention to the more lucrative professional and enterprise markets.
And this has been a wise move. Advancements made in 3D printing technologies has allowed desktop manufacturers to fill a gap in the market: a demand for smaller, but no less industrial, AM systems at a lower cost than their larger counterparts. For example, Formlabs’ Form 2 SLA 3D printer has a starting price point of $3350.
Today, the desktop market is arguably dominated by two companies: Formlabs and Ultimaker.
Both founded in 2011, at a time when the consumer hype was just reaching its peak, Formlabs and Ultimaker are unique success stories. Eight years later, the companies have firmly established their place within the industrial 3D printing landscape.
Let’s take Formlabs, whose mission is to make high-resolution stereolithography (SLA)3D printers more accessible and affordable.
The company, which has customers that include Boeing and Tesla and has raised over $100 million, is now looking to expand into Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology with the release of its desktop Fusion 1 SLS machine. The machine which has a starting price of around $10,000, a fraction of the cost of industrial SLS systems.
The growth of metal 3D printing
The rise of metal 3D printing, particularly over the last couple of years, has been well documented. Just last year, the Wohler Report 2018 announced an 80% growth in the sales of metal AM systems in 2017.
Established brands, like EOS, 3D Systems and SLM Solutions do, of course, make up a key part of this growth.
However, another key driver for this growth is the entry of new players and the development of new technologies. These range from startups like Digital Alloys and Desktop Metal, to recognised brands (see HP’s Metal Jet) taking the plunge. These companies have all developed their own metal 3D printing technologies, which differ from the traditional SLM/DMLS approach.
One company of note is Desktop Metal, the first 3D printing company to reach unicorn status in 2015. The company is targeting two segments with its Studio System (desktop) and Production System (aimed at large-scale manufacturing).
Further driving the excitement within the metal AM sector is the development of new processes.
For example, Digital Alloys, which secured a $12.9 million Series B funding round in 2018, has developed its Joule Printing technology which uses metal wire instead of metal powders as its raw material. The company says that its technology will help to address the issues of speed, quality and cost.
The software landscape has shifted significantly in the last few years. While it remains dominated by the design and simulation categories, the industry’s move towards production has led to the emergence of two other key categories: workflow and security software.
Design & CAD, Simulation: Well-known names dominate
Design and simulation software are vital for additive manufacturing. Since AM offers the possibility of creating complex geometries unachievable with traditional manufacturing methods, this has given rise to a growing number of advanced design tools like generative design and topology optimisation.
The design and CAD software category is dominated by already established CAD vendors. Seeing the opportunities in 3D printing, these companies, like Autodesk (Netfabb, Fusion 360), Dassault Systèmes (SOLIDWORKS) and ANSYS (Additive Suite) have made a concerted effort to integrate 3D printing solutions into their offerings.
Long-term, it seems that this part of the software landscape will be dominated by the big names, as companies try to bridge the gap between design and manufacturing.
Design, CAD and simulation is also a segment rife with acquisitions. Just to name a few examples: in 2017, ANSYS acquired metal simulation company, 3DSIM and has gone on to acquire material information company, Granta Design earlier this year.
Similarly, PTC acquired design software company, Frustum, in 2018 for an impressive $70 million. This acquisition sees PTC adding AI and generative design capabilities to its Creo 5.0 CAD software portfolio.
These acquisitions demonstrate how larger companies are looking to consolidate their AM capabilities and offer more specialised technology for engineers and designers.
While the subject of less media attention, SaaS solutions are no less integral to the additive manufacturing process (we should declare our interest here, as AMFG does provide workflow software for additive manufacturing).
As companies look to adopt additive manufacturing technologies, there is an increasing demand for software that can manage the production steps involved.
This is where workflow software comes in. The landscape for workflow software has evolved over the last five years, and now a number of software vendors offer solutions to manage the AM workflow.
As additive manufacturing reaches mainstream adoption, we see the need for workflow software only set to increase.
As a digital manufacturing technology, additive manufacturing raises key questions around IP protection and data security.
Currently, three companies are leading the area of software security solutions for AM.
Each of the companies included has developed software solutions to address the issues around security. LEO Lane provides security and IP encryption solutions, GROW offers ‘secured distributed manufacturing’ to enable a secure AM workflow and Identify 3D has developed solutions to secure the intellectual property of design files.
While this segment is still very small in comparison to the rest of the software category, we expect this to change significantly over the next few years, as the demand for tailored security solutions increases.
Interestingly, there are few AM-specific suppliers. Rather, the majority of the companies featured are already well-established material suppliers that have expanded their scope to provide ‘3D-printable’ materials.
One sticking point has been the high cost of materials. However, as more competition enters the materials market, this will also drive the cost of materials down.
Polymers & composites
While metal 3D printing may still command much of the attention, the polymer segment remains the largest within the materials market. And what’s exciting are the developments and activities that are happening within the polymer and composites market, particularly as the materials become more affordable.
High-performance polymers for example, such as PEEK and PAEK, are contributing to the growth of the AM market. SABIC is one company that provides ULTEM materials. This is coupled with developments on the hardware side – 3ntr, Roboze and Apium are just a few manufacturers that produce 3D printers that can process materials like PEEK and ULTEM.
The growth in metal powders and alloys goes hand-in-hand with the overall growth trajectory of the metal AM market.
Titanium is an interesting segment, its growth driven by needs in aerospace and medical. According to a report by SmarTech, shipments of titanium powders grew by 32% in 2018, with the report predicting a 24% growth in titanium alloy revenues in 2019.
Like software, the materials market is also marked by a large number of acquisitions. In July 2018, BASF New Business GmbH (BNB) acquired German company Advanc3D, integrating the company into its 3D printing division. Similarly, Carpenter has acquired LPW, a leading supplier of metal materials. The company is now known as Carpenter LPW.
Post-processing has often been referred to as AM’s ‘dirty secret’. An unavoidable post-production step for many 3D printing processes, post-processing has typically been highly manual and time-intensive.
Three solutions within the post-processing segment offer systems that promise to automate the post-processing stage.
Additive Manufacturing Technologies’ PostPro3D offers ‘automated surface finishing technology’ said to rival injection moulding finishing. Similarly, PostProcess Technologies offers automated surface finishing and support removal solutions, while DyeManison provides high-volume finishing systems.
While a small category, there is still a lot of activity in this segment.
US-based PostProcess Technologies has recently announced plans to expand into Europe, announcing a recent partnership with Rösler Oberflächentechnik GmbH, a manufacturer of finishing systems for traditional manufacturing.
DyeMansion, based in Germany, is also looking towards expansion, having received a $5 million investment in a series A funding round in 2018.
Additive Manufacturing: a growing landscape, ripe with opportunities
The Additive Manufacturing landscape reflects the continued maturing of additive manufacturing – and an overwhelmingly positive outlook for the industry.
Certainly, the ecosystem is set to continue to shift and evolve for the next few years. However, what’s clear is that a) companies and investors alike are identifying opportunities for growth and b) AM is set to disrupt the $12 billion manufacturing market.
In the future, we’re sure to see more announcements, as new companies continue to enter the market, new partnerships are announced and new technologies are developed. We’ll also see growth across the entire spectrum of the landscape – including the less-talked-about segments like post-processing systems and workflow and security software.
It will be interesting, a year from now, to take a look at how the AM landscape will have evolved. After all, in an industry as fast-paced as AM, the one certainty is change.
Click here to download the full Additive Manufacturing Landscape whitepaper.