2020 was a unique and challenging year for everyone, the manufacturing sector included. As the year begins to sunset and vaccines for COVID-19 breach the horizon, Equispheres has taken the opportunity to look ahead to what comes next. Here are their predictions for the metal additive manufacturing industry in 2021.
“While there was a lot of disruption in 2020, there was also a lot of opportunity,” says Doug Brouse, VP of Strategic Partners and Alliances at Equispheres, “For many, the disruption created an environment for innovation, improvement and reexamination of business processes. Throughout the entire manufacturing supply chain, from raw materials to end-use manufacturers, we witnessed organizations stepping back to ask hard questions.” Brouse adds, “I expect to see the industry bounce back in 2021 with the added benefit of this time spent on business improvement and innovation.”
Equispheres closed a $30 Million (CDN) fundraising round in early 2020, before the peak of the pandemic. This funding enabled them to focus on being strategic when the pandemic hit full force. Based on what they’ve seen in 2020, here are the 2021 predictions from the Equispheres team:
- Aluminum alloy powder and binder compatible with at least one major binder jet printer brand will become available on the market
- A combination of several technologies, including improved feedstock, will result in at least a 25% decrease in powder-bed fusion part production costs
- Several new aluminum alloys designed specifically for additive manufacturing will arrive on the market
- We will see an overall increase in demand and availability of bespoke powders with unique characteristics in morphology, microstructure and PSD, for emerging applications
“In general, we expect to see an increase in large-scale metal additive manufacturing applications in the automotive, aerospace and defense industries,” says Kevin Nicholds, CEO of Equispheres. “We are already seeing the shift now and this will only accelerate as the technology becomes more production-focused.”