Rapid manufacturing service provider 3Diligent Corp. reports growth of metal for 3-D printing while polymer resins remain the dominant material for such uses.
For a market analysis, 3Diligent used a random sample of 100 orders and 1,000 bids across 70 companies during 2015 and 2016 and evaluated customer process and material selections.
Plastics and resins — including ABS and its variants — accounted for nearly 76 percent of 2015 requests for quotation and 65 percent of 2016 requests. Metal requests largely for stainless steel, titanium and aluminum represented 14 percent in 2015 and 27 percent in 2016.
Released March 1, 3Diligent's State of Professional and Industrial 3D Printing Report found disparity between high and low bids, especially when the need for metal or plastic was open for determination. 3Diligent suggested supplier economics and machine and material availabilities might explain the variations.
3Diligent's mostly-local-market supply partners provide services for 3-D printing, computer numerical control machining, casting and molding of resins or metals. Vendor capabilities include stereolithography, material jetting, digital light processing, selective laser sintering, fused deposition modeling and fused filament fabrication.
3Diligent noted that some customers are becoming aware of 3-D success stories such as the additive-manufactured GE Aviation metal fuel nozzle for commercial jet engines.
3Diligent was founded in July 2014, and its website became operational in March 2015.
The business has fewer than 10 team members, occupies a 1,200-square-foot office in El Segundo, Calif., and focuses on the U.S. market.
“Everyone is pushing toward this [3-D] market,” CEO Cullen Hilkene said. “We help customers get ahead of the curve and not take on risk.”
3Diligent competes with international players: Stratasys Ltd.'s direct manufacturing division including the Solid Concepts, RedEye and Harvest Technologies brands; 3D Systems Corp.'s Quickparts Solutions service; and quick-turn manufacturer Proto Labs Inc., which introduced its insert molding service during the recent UBM Advanced Manufacturing expo in Anaheim, Calif.
“3Diligent has little overhead and combines with the low overhead of the services at its vendors,” Hilkene said in an interview at the expo. Those vendors operate “several hundred machines” and, collectively, generate revenues of about $500 million.
At the Anaheim event, 3Diligent announced an expansion of its metal rapid manufacturing technologies.