What’s Coming in 3D Printing Technology in 2018

How is it that the first month of 2018 is already coming to a close?! I hope your New Year is off to a great start – things are certainly moving along quickly here at 3Diligent!

It promises to be another exciting year in the 3D Printing industry.  With new entrants, new materials, new processes, there will be no shortage of important developments to stay on top of.  Here are a few top trends I see grabbing attention in 2018:

Extrusion metal printing. After years of there being zero metal extrusion printers, there will be two in the new year from Desktop Metal and Markforged.  These promise accessibility to new materials and a degree of user friendliness not currently offered by existing technologies.  It will be interesting to see how they deliver.

Metal printing reaches new markets. The arrival of metal extrusion technology and increasing awareness of the possibilities created by full sinter metal binder jetting will command market attention.  Because these systems should be able to deliver a lower cost alternative for certain geometries, expect to see increasing adoption of metal printing technology in industries like Energy, Automotive, and Industrial Products that couldn’t pencil a fully justified value proposition for powder bed metal printing.

Expansion of additive manufacturing as a production technology.  As more stories have found their way into market about improvements in performance offered by new designs that can only be manufactured additively, companies have been quietly investing in the technology. Expect to hear more announcements from companies that they have received approvals from government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Aviation Administration.

You can get more detail on each of these trends in my posts at mfrtech.com and at Quality Digest. I also had the chance to speak with Brad Kuvin at 3D Metal Printing in greater detail about these trends, so stay tuned for more on that discussion in the coming weeks.

What do you think will happen in 2018? Let me know in the comments below.