Top 5 Companies Leading Metal 3D Printing
It is difficult to 3D print with metal. It is difficult to spread this technology because of the high melting temperatures of metals. While there have been major advances in industrial 3D printing with metallic materials, such as Siemens’ 3D-printed gas turbine blades or NASA’s bi-metallic rocket fuel injector, the technology has not been able to adapt to the general manufacturing industry.
DISRUPTIONHUB looks at five companies that are leading the charge in metal 3D printing technology.
Also read: What is 3D Printing and How Does It Work?
1. Desktop Metal
Desktop Metal is a 3D printer based in Massachusetts, USA. Their goal is to lower the production cost and time for metal objects. Although the company was founded in 2015, it has received substantial funding from Google, BMW, and GE. Ford also invested $65 million in March 2015. The Studio System, which is their proprietary system, covers every step of the product lifecycle for 3D printed metal objects. This includes prototyping and mass production. This technology is the first to be available for office-friendly metal 3D printing. It is ten times faster than existing technology.
2. Digital Metal
Digital Metal provides solutions for the production of complex and small-sized metal components. Digital Metal 3D printing can be used in a variety of industries including aerospace, medical, and luxury goods. Digital Metal offers a unique type of binder jetting technology, which is a method that bonds layers of material together using a binding agent. The UK’s National Centre for Additive Manufacturing recently added a Digital Metal Printer to their arsenal. This technology is currently not available elsewhere in the UK.
Markforged’s Metal X3D printer system is an end-to-end manufacturing solution that allows clients to go from design to fully functional parts within 24 hours. The Metal X printer is far cheaper than many industrial metal 3D printers, at only $100,000. Printing individual parts is also less expensive. When compared to traditionally machined parts, manufacturers of aircraft brackets can save 98 percent. You can also save time by having most items available for delivery the next day. The Metal X printer is affordable, but it can only print small parts.
Sciaky is a 3D printing company that was established in Chicago in 1939. Sciaky’s Electron Beam Added Manufacturing (EBAM technology) was launched in 2009. Since then, five other metal 3D printers have been released by the company. These machines can produce large-scale, high-value metal parts up to 19 feet long. The technology can print from metal wire feedstock. This allows for a greater selection and availability of metal materials to be used in 3D printing.
Renishaw, a British company located in Gloucestershire, UK is the home of Renishaw. Their 3D printers are capable of producing lightweight, bespoke metal parts quickly. The printers of Renishaw can be used with a variety of metals and alloys including nickel, titanium, cobalt, and stainless steel.
Recently, Renishaw teamed up with British bicycle manufacturer Empire Cycles to create the very first 3D printed metal bike frame. The titanium mountain bike frame weighs in at 33% less than traditionally manufactured frames. Renishaw’s technology is also used in other industries, such as the creation and customization of luxury watches, customized mountain bikes, and a nose tip to create a hypersonic car.