Three-dimensional printing offers huge opportunities for various industries. Its range of applications is expanding, long beyond the consumer solution. It is no wonder that investors are willing to invest in the development of technology.
Three-dimensional printing: development of additive production segment
Thanks to three-dimensional printing technology it is possible to optimize a number of processes, to produce final parts. It is widely used in medicine, automotive industry and space design. Using 3D printers, it is possible to create various products from metal or plastic.
For development of the 3D press investments are necessary, and investors allocate millions on new projects. For example, only for last week the total sum of financing has made 180 million dollars. Three companies which are engaged in working out in a segment of the 3D press, have capitalization more than 1 billion dollars. One of them is company Carbon which for last year has involved venture investments to the sum of 422 million dollars. Cost of startup is estimated at $1,7 billion.
Many companies started with the Kickstarter Internet site, and now they are financed by large corporations.
One of the first technologies in this direction are SLS and FDM. SLS is based on a selective laser sintering approach, while FDM is characterized by simulations of fused deposition. Nowadays, companies that develop technologies are under close attention of investors. Investments bring high income and the industry is steadily developing.
The main emphasis the startups, which are engaged in three-dimensional printing, do, is application of the decision for the industry, including applications for prototyping. Use of 3D technologies allows us to reduce expenses and to raise efficiency of work.
But on a way to full use of additive manufacture there are some obstacles. This technology is characterized by a combination of unique skills, different from traditional subtractive technologies. At 3D printing it is important to consider each factor – thought over design, structure and properties of materials from which products are made of and metrology. Besides, a post-processing process which on time can occupy the same period as the press sharply costs. It is necessary to remove excess material, to bring to the desired state of the surface and adjust the shape.
Therefore, investors prefer companies that pay attention to integrated production, where the processes are optimized not only the printing itself, but also the preparation for it and post-processing.
Active development is already underway. Essentium presented a platform for high-speed extrusion. Its purpose is increase of speed and quality in extrusion of the 3D press. For this work investments at a rate of $22 million have been involved. The project is directed on application in scale manufacture, for example, for the aerospace or biochemical industry.