Down to the Wire for Metal Additive Manufacturing | 3D Printing Progress

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Metal powders are the most common feedstock used in metal additive manufacturing. There are lots of application and scope for using powder but also barriers in rate, scale, cost, and other factors like safety, re-use, and supply chain maturity. Alternative wire feedstocks are gaining traction in the market; many directed energy deposition (DED) methods with a range of energy sources are emerging to unlock this potential.Wire feedstocks are an attractive prospect expanding from the welding industry, the material costs are very low and as this predominantly operates through a DED process the scales and rates can be vastly improved. To differentiate themselves from the competition, new entrants are very quick to state they have a new process (and give it a new name) adding to complexity and confusion in the market. IDTechEx has rectified this with a simplified categorisation of printing processes, highlighting the differences within each when appropriate. All wire feedstock processes are similar, with the material fed through and an energy source administered; the energy source can be an electron beam (EBAM), laser, plasma, wire arc (WAAM), or with resistance welding (joule).This area has more new hardware entrants than any other form of metal AM. The …

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