3-Dimensional printing, also known as “additive manufacturing”, is the process of creating three-dimensional objects from a digital file blueprint. A computer analyzes the blueprint file and constructs the physical copy by a process of printing layer by layer until the object has been replicated.
3D printing has many benefits. For instance, fewer materials are used and less waste is generated. Through the digital rendering and physical production of a blueprint, the creation of extremely complex structures and items becomes possible. 3D printing can be used to create everything from prosthetics and dental products to manufacturing equipment and specialized machine parts at a much cheaper rate. For in-house 3D printers, there is also the added benefit of zero transportation and relocation costs.
Rapid iteration of products and decreased production time are some of the reasons 3D printing is quickly becoming an essential industry. When your product line is faster from blueprint inception to final production, you can outpace the competition, score more jobs, and grow your market share. It’s easy to see why 3D printing is proving exciting for companies going forward. Hence, we look at the top companies providing 3D printing tools and services to watch in 2023.
This company invented 3D printing and is known as the father of the 3D Printing industry. 3D Systems was founded in 1986 and has been an industry leader with its expertise in hardware, software, and materials solutions. They offer services in a variety of sectors within the industrial and healthcare industries, including:
- Aerospace & Defense
- Consumer technology
- Service bureaus
- Truck, bus & rail
- Medical Devices
- And bioprinting
3D Systems offers its users a comprehensive portfolio of materials for manufacturing from plastic and metal to bio-compatible materials. In addition, they have also developed new and unique high-performance materials such as Figure 4 RUBBER 65A BLK elastomer, Figure 4 JEWEL MASTER GRY for silicone molds and jewelry prototypes, and Accura Fidelity for investment casting.
Printers and printing materials can be purchased from the company, as well as a 3D printing-specific software, Oqton. By offering both products and services, 3D Systems covers the full scope of its clients’ 3D printing needs.
Proto Labs is a service-based 3D printing company that specializes in injection molding, CNC machining, 3D printing, and sheet metal fabrication. Through a process of uploading your 3D file and receiving manufacturing analysis, Proto Labs will print and ship your design to you with industry-leading speed. This is a quick and convenient way to harness the power of 3D printing without having to own a personal 3D printer.
This company prides itself on minimal lead and turnaround times. They offer their customers online quotes within hours and actualized products within days. The rapid business model of Proto Labs allows for accelerated iterations of products and quicker response times to market volatility. Proto Lab’s automated systems allow businesses to launch their products to market much quicker than traditional 3D printing methods.
Materialise is a Europe-based digital manufacturing company offering manufacturing and prototyping services to its clients. Depending on the nature of your product, there are several different 3D printing technologies to assist with your project:
- Selective laser sintering
- Multi-jet fusion
- Fused deposition molding
- Metal 3D printing
- Somos TetraShell
- And vacuum casting
In addition to a large portfolio of 3D printing options, Materialise also offers software to help manage orders, automate work, and scale operations. This software is compatible with any 3D printing technology or machine your company may use, making it a versatile solution for your software needs.
Materialise also has a consultancy branch that helps clients tackle challenges they may face at any point during the 3D printing process. The Materialise Mindware team will assist with tasks such as identifying applications for additive manufacturing and deploying full-scale production lines, adding value to your company every step of the way.
ExOne is a 3D printing company that employs a unique method of printing: sandcasting. Through this binder jetting process, a mold is created in sand and an adhesive binding agent is deposited, forming alternating layers of sand and binding agent to form a 3D product of the mold. Sandcasting is the oldest known method of casting and has been used for thousands of years.
This method of 3D printing is considered to be more sustainable than traditional methods since there is a variety of natural materials that can be used to create a cast, such as sawdust, coffee grounds, and emulsified concrete. However, ExOne is known for its popular binding agent, furan, which is made from sugar cane, corn husks, and rice hulls.
ExOne also offers traditional metal casting, but its binder jetting technology makes them a unique 3D printing company among its competitors.
Nano Dimension is revolutionizing the 3D printing industry with Additively Manufactured Electronics (AME) technology and micro additive manufacturing (AM) printers. Their technology makes it possible to print electronic parts down to a micron level.
By using projection micro-stereolithography, Nano Dimension’s Fabrica 2.0 printer generates extremely precise 3D parts with faster turnaround times than any other micro printer in the industry. Their Dragonfly IV printer is capable of printing fully functional electronic circuitry. Such detailed parts require the kind of expertise and precision that Nano Dimension is providing with its breakthrough technology.
Whether you prefer to own one of Nano Dimension’s micro printers or ship it to them for printing, this company has its clients covered with a range of 3D printing solutions.
Velo3D services many different industries with its specialized technology in 3D metal printing. They mainly manufacture for space travel, automotive tooling development, and power and energy industries. This company offers hardware solutions as well as front-end and back-end software solutions.
Through an integrated solution called Intelligent Fusion, the entire printing process is facilitated. Flow, the print preparation software, prescribes the manufacturing process for Velo3D’s printer, Sapphire. Once printing is complete, Assure, a quality assurance software, runs analytics to assess machine health, product integrity, and build reports.
The benefits of using Velo3D’s entirely integrated printing solution are optimized performance, rapid production, and reduced cost. Velo3D uses a single print file approach, making it easier for their customers to scale rapidly. This file guarantees that a part can be printed anywhere in the world since the materials and geometry are the same, regardless of where it’s being printed.
With nearly 30 years of experience in the 3D printing industry, Stratasys was among the first companies to pioneer and perfect this technology. This company’s vast history has made them an expert in this field. They have set the industry standard for FDM, Polyjet, and Stereolithography 3D printing systems.
Stratasys is a full-service 3D printing organization, offering 3D printers, premium quality materials, software integration, and consultancy services. Their products are used across multiple industries, from art and fashion to medicine and government.
Google Arts and Culture have used Stratasys technologies to recreate model historical artifacts and heritage sites. The popular all-terrain vehicle manufacturer, Polaris, has also utilized Stratsys’ 3D printing technology to remain innovative and ahead of the curve in the rapidly changing automotive industry.
This company is an on-demand manufacturer that uses high-temperature industrial 3D printing processes to make parts for the space and aeronautics industries. AON3D uses high-performance materials to create products that are safe and approved for space travel and aviation.
The AON M2+ is the company’s proprietary 3D printer that gives clients access to parts made with some of the world’s most advanced thermoplastics. This printer is highly versatile and capable of maintaining, assembling, and fabricating a number of components. The thermogenic nature of aviation and space travel requires materials that can sustain massive amounts of heat, and AON3D makes access to flammability rates and aerospace-grade materials possible.
Relativity Space is a 3D printing company utilizing Stargate, the world’s largest 3D metal printer, to introduce the very first autonomous rocket factory and satellite launch services. Their technology allows them to create 3D-printed rockets, from raw materials to flight functionality in less than 60 days.
With fewer parts and 10x faster production times, Relativity is sustainably changing the aeronautics industry. They have developed the first two fully 3D-printed rockets: Terran 1 and Terran R, a reusable edition of the Terran 1. The engines that power these rockets – Aeon 1, Aeon R, and Aeon Vac – are also printed in-house by Stargate. The 3D construction of these engines reduces part count across the board, increasing mission reliability. Relativity maintains its sustainability initiative by powering these engines with liquid natural gas and liquid oxygen.
Relativity uses integrated robotics, software, and signature 3D printing technology to run this autonomous factory. The minimal need for labor allows for faster and cheaper access to space, and rapid iteration of rocket design.
Mighty Buildings is a 3D printing construction company utilizing 3D printing to provide sustainable housing solutions. They aim to address the housing and climate crises with their patented 3D printing design that has near-zero waste production. By 2028, they hope to be completely carbon negative.
The Mighty Kit System is a powerhouse 3D printer that Mighty Buildings uses to make 3D-printed homes possible. It generates 1% of the waste of traditional construction methods and significantly reduces carbon emission waste by up to 4 tons per home. The system uses Mighty Building’s patented Light Stone Material which is lighter and stronger than concrete. While sustainable, these 3D-printed homes are also built to last. They are insulated and soundproof, earthquake and hurricane-resistant, and water, mold, mildew, and insect-resistant. These homes also can be modified to achieve zero net energy consumption with added solar panels and solar energy storage. Overall, these homes are capable of providing housing solutions with 99% less waste than traditional construction and in a significantly shorter amount of time.