Source: Intelligent Manufacturing Network
Ten years have passed since the concept of 3D printing was proposed. From the birth of 3D printing technology in 1986 to the present, after more than 30 years of technology accumulation, two technical genres of metal 3D printing and non-metal 3D printing have been formed around the world. The debate about the merits of metal 3D printing and non-metallic 3D printing has also made 3D printing this “quiet lake” rippling.
Domestically, most 3D printing manufacturers currently choose SLA and SLM technology paths, and SLM is particularly hot in the near future. SLM stands for Selective Laser Melting, which is a technology that directly heats metal powder through a laser to melt it completely after cooling and forming. Generally speaking, SLM’s 3D printing technology is injecting powerful product reshaping capabilities into industrial manufacturing from aspects such as shortening production time, improving functionality, reducing the number of parts, improving design freedom, and improving supply chain management efficiency.
In the metal 3D printing process, the quality of the metal powder is one of the key factors that affect the structure and performance of the final printed parts. At present, the level of domestic powder is close to that of foreign countries, but there is still a gap. Improving the performance of metal powders and product materials has become an important issue for people in the industry. After all, the better the quality of the metal powder and the smaller the particle size, the better the compactness and mechanical properties of the printed product.
Comprehensively speaking, compared with traditional manufacturing modes, the advantages of non-metallic 3D printing are mainly customizable and moldless, but limited by material properties, it is mainly used for the production of molds and samples, and the quantity and price are difficult to expand In addition to the advantages of moldless and customizable metal 3D printing, the printing efficiency, printing quality and printing accuracy are more significantly improved than traditional metal processing techniques. It is worth noting that metal 3D printing can complete the printing of high-complexity and high-precision parts that cannot be manufactured by traditional processes, and has great potential for development.
In the automotive field, 3D printing has a very broad application space, and the development prospect is promising. Some automobile companies have begun to use 3D printing technology for interior manufacturing and parts customization under the trend of lightweight and intelligent vehicle manufacturing. Since 1991, BMW has incorporated 3D printed parts into the concept car development system, which shows its forward-looking vision. In the past ten years, BMW has produced 1 million parts using 3D printing technology, and its output has reached a high level in the automotive industry.
From another point of view, whether it is automobile tires or aerospace, 3D printing technology is inseparable from the development of three important factors, namely equipment, materials, and technology. The launch of a high-quality product requires not only excellent performance materials, but also innovative processes and high stability 3D printers. The spread of non-metallic 3D printing and 3D printing in various fields needs to pay attention to the relationship between technology, equipment and materials.
From metal printing to non-metal printing, from titanium alloys, 316 stainless steel to non-metallic materials, from bookcases and chairs, cartoons, to aerospace precision parts, high-complex components, the products that can be manufactured by 3D printing in recent years have changed The more precise and diverse it becomes. Metallic 3D printing and non-metallic 3D printing are like a pair of twin brothers, with similarities and differences. In each subdivision scenario, both technologies will continue to “light up” to illuminate the world for industrial upgrading.
According to market research institutions, the 3D printing market will reach 55 billion US dollars by 2029, which is basically consistent with the 3D printing market’s goal of accounting for about 2% of the global manufacturing industry’s 12 trillion US dollars market value in 2030. Such a vast market space has attracted the attention of many investors. It is not difficult to find that the pioneers in the industry are jointly painting a glorious new picture of the 3D printing industry. In the next few years, in order to better meet the actual needs of users in various industries, the speed of 3D printing technology will be further accelerated, and new application models will be blossomed.