3D printing is making headway in composite manufacturing

The latest report from IDTechE examines the key trends and innovations in this emerging technology

Dr Bryony Core, Technology Analyst at IDTechEx, and Dr Richard Collins, Senior Technology Analyst at IDTechEx, have released a new report on 3D Printing Composites - 3D Printing Composites 2020-2030: Technology and Market Analysis. Following this release, Dr Core has recently published the below article on the topic.

Within the field of 3D printing, there is increasing emphasis on functionality as the industry shifts away from the stereotype of rapid prototyping, and materials are not exempt from such scrutiny. For instance, within the field of metal additive manufacturing, metals such as titanium with excellent tensile strength and low density are ideal for lightweighting applications, and as such demand for these materials is continually increasing. However, for certain applications, metals are not sufficiently lightweight enough, which is where composites come into play.

The latest report from IDTechEx, "3D Printing Composites 2020-2030: Technology and Market Analysis", authored by Dr Bryony Core and Dr Richard Collins examines the key trends and innovations in this emerging technology.

Carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic polymers, or CFRP for short, are already established materials where a high strength to weight ratio is key; the aerospace industry, automotive and transportation, and luxury sporting goods, have all utilised CFRP for this specific property. Although 3D printing composites has been limited to date, this is to an extent a product of the inability of most additive manufacturing hardware systems to print continuous CFRP, as well as the propensity for increased nozzle wear.

Despite the difficulties previously encountered with 3D printing composites, new entrants to the market are increasing the awareness of how the advantages of 3D printing can complement and enhance the properties of a composite material. To date, the market has been dominated by Boston based start-up, Markforged, but their dominance is increasingly being challenged by established market leaders and other start-ups alike.

One such company is the Italian 3D printing company Roboze, which unveiled its large format Argo 500 printer in 2017, and has since been experiencing exponential growth rates in sales.

Filed: Moulding
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