SmartTech has made three predictions for AM in 2017.
SmartTech has made three predictions for AM in 2017.

SmarTech Publishing, a market analyst in the 3D printing sector, has made three predictions for the industry in 2017.

Firstly, it suggests that 3D printing for healthcare will become a leading driver of additive manufacturing (AM) growth this year. ‘In 2017, SmarTech Publishing expects healthcare-related 3D printing to flourish and drive a significant portion of market growth in the industry, while competition between print technologies and associated companies will otherwise create a highly chaotic market in other segments of the AM/3DP sector,’ it said. ‘During 2017, SmarTech Publishing expects that 3D printing will accelerate its growth in dentistry where it will become the most widely adopted digital production technology within a decade.

A second prediction is that rapid tooling through 3D printing will move significantly closer to the mainstream. ‘As we see it the market is beginning to recognize that 3D printing of tooling in both metals and polymers holds significant value when compared to traditional manufacturing with fewer complications and barriers to adoption,’ the market analyst suggested.

A final prediction is that the metal powder supply chain for additive manufacturing systems will be driven by aerospace demand. ‘In 2017, SmarTech Publishing believes annual shipments of metal AM systems will grow again by between 20 and 25%,’ it said. ‘In addition, 2017 will likely be a transitionary year for metal additive manufacturing, as many of the biggest players in the industry are expected to be working to roll out next generation technologies [...] A number of previously announced parts and partnerships will move into full scale production in 2017, which will likely result in aerospace suppliers and OEMs having an even greater influence on the supply chain for metal powders used in various AM processes. This will affect most alloy groups, but especially those of nickel superalloys, cobalt chrome superalloys, titanium, and potentially refractory metals.’

This story is reprinted from material from SmarTech Publishing, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.