AM PowdersMaterialsMetal Additive ManufacturingMetalsTrends 2021

Equispheres expects aluminum powder for binder jetting and decreasing prices in 2021

High-performance metal powder manufacturer shares their predictions for the metal AM market

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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, high-performance metal powder manufacturer Equispheres has taken the opportunity to look ahead to what comes next, in particular with respect to aluminum powder for binder jetting.

“While there was a lot of disruption in 2020, there were also a lot of opportunities,” said 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 added, “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 (CAD) 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. These are the 2021 predictions from the Equispheres team:

1.    Aluminum alloy powder and binder compatible with at least one major binder jet printer brand will become available on the market.

2.    A combination of several technologies, including improved feedstock, will result in at least a 25% decrease in powder-bed fusion part production costs.

aluminum powder for binder jetting from Equisphere
Scanning Electron Microscope photo of Equispheres novel aluminum powder

3.    Several new aluminum alloys designed specifically for additive manufacturing will arrive on the market.

4.     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,” commented Kevin Nicholds, CEO of Equispheres. “We are already seeing the shift now and this will only accelerate as the technology becomes more production focused.”

Equispheres is a materials science engineering firm specializing in high-performance metal powders for AM in the automotive, aerospace, and defense industries. It should be noted that if a company like Equispheres thinks that aluminum will become available on a binder jetting platforms that’s probably going to be the case and this prediction should not be taken lightly.

For metal binder jetting to be the game-changer that many in the industry expect and want to be, in terms of higher productivity, the technology must be able to work with a widely used and affordable material such as aluminum. In general aluminum and its alloys are one of the most sought-after material families to increase production rates, while decreasing costs on any metal AM technology.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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