The Additive Manufacturing Industry Landscape 2020: 240 Companies Driving Digital Manufacturing [Updated]
26 May 2020
Update 16/06/2020: Taking on board all of the feedback we’ve received from the 3D printing community, we’ve now updated the landscape to include 9 new companies.
Much has changed in the Additive Manufacturing (AM) industry since AMFG published the first Additive Manufacturing Landscape in 2019. To document the evolution of the industry, AMFG has published the second edition of our annual Additive Manufacturing Landscape.
In 2020, the 3D printing industry is continuing to mature. The ecosystem is expanding, with new companies and investors continuing to enter the market.
Download the report and infographic here
By the end of 2019, the global AM market was estimated to be worth over $10 billion. A number of factors are fuelling the growth of the industry. One is that 3D printing hardware and materials are being developed for industrial applications, as companies across industries continue to find new use cases for the technology.
Furthermore, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact business operations and cause shortages in supply chains, companies are adopting 3D printing as a part of their digital transformation strategy. Digitisation offered by 3D printing can give companies the flexibility and agility needed to respond to supply chain issues and shifting customer demands.
With so many factors shaping the industry, it can be difficult to keep track of the companies and trends driving 3D printing forward.
For this reason, we’ve published our second annual Additive Manufacturing Landscape 2020: an infographic and whitepaper that offers manufacturers and industry stakeholders a clear understanding of the current AM ecosystem and key trends shaping the industry.
The Additive Manufacturing Landscape in 2020
This year, 240 companies and institutions have been included in the Additive Manufacturing Landscape.
While we’ve added new segments and players, all of the companies share one common goal: industrialising 3D printing.
The landscape is divided into the following categories:
- Hardware manufacturers (Polymers, Desktop, Metals, Composites, Ceramics, Electronics)
- Software vendors (Design & Simulation, Slicer & Data Preparation,Workflow & MES, Security)
- Materials suppliers (Polymers & Composites, Metals)
- Post-processing system manufacturers
- Research institutions
As always, the scope of our landscape focuses exclusively on industrial 3D printing. Therefore, we have only included companies that provide solutions for industrial applications. Companies that primarily have a consumer 3D printing focus have not been included.
Also not included are service providers. While they are an integral aspect of the additive manufacturing landscape, to include them would have been to increase the complexity of the report. However, we have published a State of the Industry Survey, focused on the current state of the AM market for service providers, which you can find here.
Hardware remains the largest category
In 2020, the hardware category makes up 56% of the AM landscape. The continued entry of new 3D printing hardware companies means that the segment has become more diverse, and therefore more competitive, than ever before.
In this year’s edition of the AM Landscape, we have also added a new hardware segment: composite 3D printers. While the technology is still new and, in many cases, niche, composite 3D printing has the potential to grow into a larger, more profitable market.
Metal 3D printers are the largest segment
Metal machine manufacturers make up 40% of the hardware category and 22.5% of the overall landscape.
The majority of companies featured in the landscape provide laser-based metal 3D printers, but there is also growth in the area of binder jetting systems and 3D printers that are able to print large metal parts.
Start-ups are accelerating the pace of innovation in 3D printing
A large proportion of our landscape features start-ups that have emerged in the last five years.
Unsurprisingly, they are also receiving a lot of attention from investors. It is estimated that $1.1 billion of investment was made in 77 early-stage AM companies in 2019, with the largest amount of funding going to hardware manufacturers.
Connectivity is becoming a major theme within the industry
The AM market remains a fragmented ecosystem, with different solutions across each of the key segments that are not necessarily integrated.
Market fragmentation reveals the need for greater connectivity, which is an essential requirement for 3D printing as a digital manufacturing technology.
Taking a closer look at each segment
The hardware segment still makes up the lion’s share of the AM landscape. The developments of new systems are ongoing and strongly supported by funding.
The continuous evolution in the hardware space is resulting in faster, more reliable 3D printers, geared towards production applications.
Polymer 3D printers
While polymer 3D printers are still predominantly used in prototyping, we also see the technology expanding to applications in production, including toolings, spare and end-use parts.
The push towards end-part polymer 3D printing is set to continue, driven by the introduction of high-performance thermoplastics like PEEK and ULTEM, that unlock new applications for the technology in aerospace, railway and automotive industries.
Desktop 3D printers
Desktop 3D printers are another vital part of the AM landscape. Machines in this category are increasingly geared towards industrial applications. At the same time, desktop 3D printers are aimed at democratising 3D printing by lowering the barrier to entry and creating a more user-friendly 3D printing experience.
As of 2020, desktop material extrusion remains the largest category. Professional desktop Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) systems have a much lower price point than higher-end industrial machines. At the same time, industrial features like dual extrusion and heated build chambers are becoming must-have features of desktop FFF 3D printers.
While companies like Ultimaker and Makerbot remain the most recognised brands in the FFF desktop segment, the entry of relatively new players like BCN3D and Roboze is creating a diverse segment.
Metal 3D printers
While many experts note a slight decrease in metal 3D printer sales in 2019, associating the slowdown ‘with a weak automotive market, a generally fragile manufacturing sector and sluggish Asian and European economies’, according to this research. The segment, however, is set to recover in the long term.
In 2020, metal Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) variants remain the most widely used systems, although we see a strong push towards the development of metal binder jetting machines.
Metal binder jetting 3D printers are typically cheaper and faster than PBF systems and use more readily available materials.
ExOne, an early provider of metal binder jetting technology, is now joined by several companies like Digital Metal, GE, Desktop Metal and HP.
Desktop Metal and HP, in particular, strategically plan to make binder jetting a method that can compete with traditional manufacturing like forging and casting for certain applications.
In the meantime, the metal hardware market has recently seen the introduction of a new segment of compact metal 3D printers.
Machines in this category typically have a smaller footprint compared to PBF systems, they offer a more accessible price-point, as well as a shorter learning curve. The key applications areas for compact metal 3D printers include functional prototyping and the production of small batches.
According to the research firm, CONTEXT, this segment saw year-on-year shipment increases of 43 per cent in 2019. Desktop Metal and Markforged have been among the first companies to address this need with their compact metal 3D printers.
Composite 3D printers
This year’s AM Landscape sees the introduction of a new segment: composite 3D printing. As of 2020, there are 10 key industry players developing the technology, including Markforged, Fortify and Anisoprint.
Traditional composite manufacturing remains a very labour, resource and capital-intensive process, with long design cycles. Composite 3D printing, on the other hand, can simplify the process by automating the production of composite parts.
There are increasingly more market-ready solutions being commercialised for composite 3D printing. For example, Desktop Metal launched its composite desktop Fiber 3D printer at the end of 2019.
This move is quite surprising for a company previously focused solely on metal 3D printing, but it suggests that it sees a lot of opportunity in the maturing composite 3D printing market.
Another positive indicator is the growing number of investments in composite 3D printing companies. Over the last 12 months, we estimate that more than $150,000,000 has been invested in composite 3D printing companies, including Markforged, Fortify and 9T Labs.
Challenges in 3D printing hardware
Despite the continued evolution of 3D printing hardware, the segment may experience some challenges due to the global uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scott Dunham, VP of Research at research firm, SmarTech Analysis, and contributor to the AM Landscape, predicts that hardware sales are unlikely to grow significantly in 2020, although there is hope for the materials segment:
‘Hardware sales probably aren’t going to go anywhere as capital expenditures will no doubt be tight the rest of the year (at least). But we’re hopeful that utilization rates will rebound for the existing installed base of machines, driving material sales for new end-use oriented materials.’
The range of 3D printing materials continues to grow.
In 2020, the Senvol Database lists as many as 2,245 different AM materials, compared to just over 1,700 materials in 2019.
While polymers remain the most popular materials, the demand for metals is catching up. 40 per cent of companies in a recent survey by EY stated that they would like to use standard alloys for their AM applications, while 31 per cent cited high-performance alloys.
Despite the positive outlook for the 3D printing materials market, the cost of materials remains a key barrier to the widespread adoption of 3D printing. As of 2020, AM polymers and metals are still several times more expensive than non-AM materials.
The adoption of 3D printing as digital manufacturing technology has created the demand for specialised software that can streamline AM processes, from part design to workflow management.
‘3D printing is not new, with nearly 35 years of history, but most of the focus over the decades has been on platforms and materials. What is catching up is the software needed to better predict, correct, and manage printed parts.’
Gregory Paulsen, Director of Application Engineering at Xometry
For the design stage, simulation software remains a big focus of 3D printing software development. The key reason for this is the potential to reduce, or even eliminate, the trial and error approach currently used to achieve repeatable 3D printing results.
At the same time, the level of sophistication of the design software tools like topology optimisation and generative design is increasing. We’re seeing more examples of topologically optimised parts used in critical applications like aerospace engine parts, automotive components and medical implants.
However, there is a challenge of disjointed build preparation tools, adding a layer of complexity to the AM workflow.
The good news is that this is being solved: 3D printing software developers are focused on integrating different build preparation tools to enable a more streamlined process.
Such multi-functional software enables users to perform printability checks, orient parts on a build, optimise the part structure for lightweighting, add supports and run simulation analyses.
Workflow and MES software
The need for software solutions that can manage steps involved in additive manufacturing is growing in line with the expanding use of AM in production. Companies require traceability for their 3D-printed parts and the ability to control their AM operations more efficiently.
These requirements have prompted the emergence of a relatively new software segment of Manufacturing Execution System (MES), also known as a workflow software.
Currently, several MES solutions are available on the market, each with a different level of maturity. This means that selecting the right solution will ultimately require a company to consider multiple factors, like integration capabilities of the software and the ability to support increasing production volumes.
IP and Security software
When 3D printing parts in-house or outsourcing them to a supplier, IP protection becomes a critical consideration. This means that security software has an important role to play in enabling the use of 3D printing across an organisation.
3D printing involves a lot of data transfer, not only between hardware but also between departments, production sites and suppliers. This means that security will become a key concern for any company using 3D printing for production and wanting to control its assets and protect its design files from unauthorised access.
While security software remains 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.
As 3D printing moves to production, there has been a great push to overcome key post-processing challenges like highly manual and time-intensive post-processing steps.
Furthermore, the post-processing of 3D-printed parts makes up a considerable part of the overall cost-per-part.
‘Post-processing has a huge impact on enabling manufacturers to hit their cost targets if pursuing scaled production.’
‘Focus should be on sustainable post-processing technologies that fully automate the workflow, once the parts come out of the 3D printer, eliminating the prohibitive costs of a labor-intensive manual workflow. Only when savings are met, scaled production is possible.’
Joseph Crabtree, CEO of Additive Manufacturing Technologies Ltd.
A number of companies have appeared on the market in order to tackle post-processing challenges by developing automated solutions for part cleaning, depowdering, surface finishing and dyeing.
Some of them are entirely focused on the 3D printing industry (such as Additive Manufacturing Technologies, DyeMansion, PostProcess Technologies), while others are large traditional companies (such as Rösler and Quintus Technologies) that have developed solutions for 3D printing.
Additive Manufacturing in 2020: Shaping the future of digital manufacturing
A year on from AMFG’s first Additive Manufacturing Landscape, it couldn’t be clearer that the 3D printing industry has matured significantly since then.
New companies have entered the market, with new 3D printing technologies; materials companies are accelerating material development, and there is more focus than ever before on automation and connectivity.
In spite of the current global uncertainty, the AM industry remains ripe with opportunities. We’re confident that AM will come out of the global crisis stronger and more consolidated than ever before. One thing that will be instrumental in this is the ongoing collaboration within the industry – and we’ve already seen multiple examples of this trend.
Ultimately, 2020 looks set to be a year in which additive manufacturing demonstrates its value in the mainstream, gaining an even stronger footing within the wider manufacturing industry.
Download the white paper and infographic here