Additive Manufacturing Adoption Up, Growing Rapidly in Aerospace

The 3D printing materials market will experience high double-digit growth in the aerospace industry through 2024, as manufacturers of aircraft and spacecraft vehicles and components increasingly adopt and reap the benefits of additive manufacturing, market analysts at Frost & Sullivan in Mountain View, California, predict.

“The aerospace industry is moving rapidly toward production, and this will be an interesting trend from the 3D printing perspective,” Frost & Sullivan analysts forecast. “3D printing provides unmatched flexibility of design and materials for part manufacturing and prototyping, at a fraction of the cost and time, and the benefits are set to enhance further as technology progresses.”

Functionality and performance, minimization of carbon footprint, and globalization of manufacturing services are among the key mega trends impacting the aerospace additive manufacturing market, identified in Frost & Sullivan’s “Global 3D Printing Materials Market for Aerospace Industry, Forecast to 2024” research report.

Weight optimization without compromising on structural strength and resilience, nor impacting safety and functionality, is an area of high interest and research for aerospace original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and makers of myriad critical parts and components alike. Considerably lower material wastage, resulting in a lower carbon footprint for the industry, is another major driver of additive manufacturing adoption.

“Unlike most industries, production is the largest application for 3D printing in the aerospace industry,” analysts say. “Design freedom, quick turnaround time, and ability to produce on demand are the few factors that exert a major influence on the market penetration of 3D printing technology in the aerospace industry.”

Potential impediments to wider adoption of 3D printing technology in aerospace include: lack of clear guidelines and high capital investment; yet, the acceptance and adoption of 3D printing is projected to increase as real-world applications of additive manufacturing in aerospace achieve success. Further, as the industry and its technologies continue to evolve and are produced in higher volumes to meet the demands of various industries, the cost of entry is likely to decrease over time.

North America and Europe have traditionally led the aerospace 3D printing materials market in terms of demand and revenue due to the high research and development (R&D) and presence of leading aircraft manufacturers, as well as system manufacturers, analysts explain. They anticipate that North America will be the most attractive region over the forecast period and lead regional demand in 2024, followed by Europe in demand and revenue The Asia-Pacific region is a nascent market at present, they add, with substantial growth potential.

The Aerospace Material Specification committee on Additive Manufacturing (AMS-AM) at SAE International  in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, has released its first suite of Aerospace Material Specifications (AMS) additive manufacturing materials and process specifications. The new aerospace technical standards, now available from SAE, support the certification of critical aircraft and spacecraft parts, providing both a framework to protect the integrity of material property data and traceability within the aerospace supply chain. Learn more: SAE International issues first aerospace additive manufacturing technical standards

The four SAE aerospace additive manufacturing technical standards are: