Building components in a controlled environment and minimizing the entry of any impurities into the materials is one of the major challenges faced during 3D metal printing. Gases such as argon and nitrogen help to create an environment which allows manufacturing of these parts of exact standards required for use in the automotive and aerospace industries. in addition, these gases prevent part deformations by controlling thermal stress through gradual cooling and improve safety through the inerting of combustible dust during powder handling and sieving.
The global 3D printing gases market has been segregated on the basis of gas, technology, function, end-user, and region.
By gas, the global 3D printing gases market is divided into argon, nitrogen, and gas mixtures. The argon segment held the largest market share in 2017 and is expected to be dominant during the forecast period. During 3D metal printing process, argon gas is used as a shielding gas to remove reactive gases surrounding the melt pool to avoid reaction with atmospheric gases like oxygen which may cause damage to the fabricated part. However, the gas mixtures segment is expected to be fastest growing segment in the coming years. This can be attributed to rising need for obtaining the combined shielding and cooling effect by use of the gas mixtures during the process.
On the basis of technology, the global 3D printing gases market is categorized as stereolithography, laser sintering, poly-jet, material jetting, electron beam melting, and others. The laser sintering segment is expected to be the dominant technology segment during the assessment period. This can be mainly attributed to growing use of this technology in 3D plastic and metal printing for manufacture of functional prototypes, automotive die-casting parts, sheet metal forming, and motor housing. Increasing demand for the technology in the automotive and healthcare industries is expected to boost demand for 3D printing gases in the years to follow.
Based on function, the global 3D printing gases market has been segmented as insulation, cooling, and illumination. The insulation segment accounted for the largest market share in 2017 and is projected to be the leading segment during the forecast period.
On the basis of end-user, the global 3D printing gases market has been divided into automotive, aerospace & defense, consumer products, healthcare, and others. In 2017, the aerospace & defense segment held the largest share of this market. 3D printing has predominantly been used as a prototyping solution rather than the manufacturing of end parts. Growing use of 3D printing gases in the fabrication of highly complex and lightweight structures with high stability.
The global 3D printing gases market has been studied with respect to five regions—Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa. North America is the hub to the major 3D printing gases producers and also is the leading consumer of these gases. The market in Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at a high CAGR owing to the rising product demand in the automotive and healthcare industries. The automotive industry in the region is growing at a significant rate which is expected to fuel demand for the product and favor growth of the regional market.
The regional market in Europe is projected to account for the largest share of the market owing to the technological development in the field of AM and its increasing use in the medical and aerospace industries.
The leading players in the global 3D printing gases market are Air Products and Chemicals Inc (US), The Linde Group (Germany), Praxair Inc (US), Air Liquide (France), BASF SE (Germany), Universal Industrial Gases Inc (US), Messer Group (Germany), and Matheson Tri-Gas Inc (US).