3D Printing Set for Explosive Growth
From producing engine parts and dental implants to prototyping and tooling, 3D Printing is creating benefits not just for large established companies, but also for start-ups trying to compete in an ultracompetitive and capital intensive market.
Additive Manufacturing (i.e. 3D Printing) printing is quickly being adopted as a complementary production process to conventional manufacturing. The value of the sector has exploded, with revenue expected to reach a record USD$15.9 billion for 2016, and compound annual growth expected to exceed 22% to 2020, to reach USD$35.4 billion according to Staistia.
PyroGenesis: A Company Poised to Capitalize on the Trend
PyroGenesis Canada Inc. (PYR.V) is a Montreal-based world leader in the design, development, manufacture and commercialization of advanced plasma processes. In 1996, the Company invented technology to produce titanium powders using plasma atomization technology, which it used to produce powders from 1998 to 2004 for the biomedical industry. The biomedical industry sought PyroGenesis’ powder due to its flowability, which was a result of the sphericity of the powder. PyroGenesis sold its powder-producing division to Raymor Industries (named Advanced Powders & Coatings or AP&C) in 2006 along with the exclusive rights to use the technology up until 2012.
PyroGenesis has since improved its technology, investing approximately $2mm last year alone, to increase the Plasma Atomization systems production rate and tighten the particle size distribution. Today, PyroGenesis’ Plasma Atomization system produces powders that in large cater to the Additive Manufacturing Industry (Figure 1 illustrates a diagram of PyroGenesis Plasma Atomization Process). Currently, the majority of the powder demand is for Titanium and Titanium alloy spherical powders. The Plasma Atomization system allows for the production of very fine metallic powders all while retaining the chemical purity of said powders. It is this unique production method, and the highly spherical and pure powder it produces, which enables PyroGenesis to bring tremendous value to the Additive Manufacturing sector.
Powder production will commence in Q1 2017 via PyroGenesis’ first Plasma Atomization unit. PyroGenesis has plans to further expand its capacity in the near future to meet the growing demand from the Additive Manufacturing (AM) Industry, with the ultimate goal of becoming the leading supplier of spherical metallic powders for the AM sector.
In a report released by KPMG, titled “Global Manufacturing Outlook,” it surveyed 360 senior executives and found that 25% of respondents had already invested in 3D Printing technologies, with 31% saying they will definitely invest and 35% saying they will probably invest in the next 12 to 24 months. This creates a significant opportunity as more companies see the cost-benefits of 3D printing, which will ultimately lead to shorter product development lifecycles as prototyping and manufacturing processes become more efficient.