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Opportunities for Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace 2017 - Civil Aviation:  An Opportunity Analysis and Ten-Year Forecast

Opportunities for Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace 2017 - Civil Aviation:  An Opportunity Analysis and Ten-Year Forecast

Manufacturing of civil aircraft – that is planes for commercial and general aviation – has already emerged as the first industry sector where 3D printing is an established manufacturing modality. We continue to see important new opportunities emerge in this area in both metal AM and the polymer AM (metal replacement and composite).  This report identifies and quantifies the business potential of these new trends. The report includes:

  • Detailed ten-year forecasts of the revenue generation potential for additive manufacturing in the civil aviation sector.  These forecasts are presented in both volume and value ($ Millions) terms and cover printer shipments and install base, revenues from specialist aerospace service bureaus, aerospace-related AM software, and materials (metals, polymers and composites).
  • A strategic assessment of the leading firms supplying the “additive aerospace” sector.  In this assessment, we also take into consideration the commercial impact of the rapidly growing number of companies that are targeting aerospace firms as potential customers.
  • An analysis of how this segment of the aerospace industry is changing its strategies and adoption patterns for metal AM and is exploiting the increases in speed, part size and process automation that have occurred in the last few years.
  • A discussion of how the absence an appropriate software infrastructure for “additive aerospace” was impacting the market and how significant investments made in this area are going to lead to a much more rapid adoption of the technology. Here there appears to be an opportunity to market new software packages to fully support all phases the AM process, from CAD to PLM to enterprise infrastructure.”


The aerospace segment has seen larger than ever before investments in AM hardware and materials and these trends continue to indicate that the market for AM in commercial and general aviation is still only at the very beginning of its potential growth curve.

This report is based on extensive interviews in the “additive aerospace” sector as well as on SmarTech’s extensive database of information and proprietary market forecasts in this space.  The report will be highly valuable to marketing, business development and production executives at 3D printer makers, AM material companies, specialist service bureau, as well as within the aerospace industry itself.

Provisional Table of Contents

Chapter One: Adoption of AM for Aerospace Part Production:  Latest Trends
1.1 Investment in “additive aerospace” increasing and so are the players
1.2 Continued emphasis on weight reduction/increased performance in the adoption of AM for aerospace
1.2 Geographic considerations shape AM for commercial and general aviation
1.3 Software improvements leading to more use of AM in non-military aerospace
1.4 Material factors: polymers and composites out pressure on metals use in aerospace
1.5 Specialist AM service bureaus alleviate supply chain pressure in the aerospace industry
1.6 Competitive Implications Resulting from Adoption of AM in Commercial Aerospace
1.7 The six most influential firms in “AM aerospace.”
1.8 Forecasting in this report
1.8.1 Methodology
1.8.2 Summary of ten-year forecasts of AM for commercial and general aviation
1.9 Key points from this chapter

Chapter Two: Progress in Integrating AM into the Commercial Aerospace Industry
2.1 Further reduction of total production lead time -- accelerated by rapid prototype to AM batch production
2.2 Implementing generative CAD design tools for AM for aerospace components
2.3 Current evolution of topology optimization and trabecular/lattice structures for AM optimized parts
2.4 Developments in qualifying 3D-printed flight-critical parts
2.4.1 New non-destructive evaluation methods for 3D printed parts
2.4.2 Post printing treatment providing short-term solution
2.5 Developments in 3D printing of non-flight-critical/interior parts in commercial aircraft
2.6 Environmental benefits as a result of weight reduction
2.7 Implementation timelines
2.8 The critical role of software for implementation of AM in the commercial and general aviation sector
2.9 Key points from this chapter

Chapter Three Emerging Market Opportunities for 3D Printer Suppliers and Service Bureaus
3.1 Evolution of AM processes for the aviation industry
3.1.1 Polymer powder bed fusion
3.1.1.1 Composites
3.1.2 Polymer material extrusion
3.1.2.1 Composites
3.1.3 Metal powder bed Fusion
3.1.3.1 Speed
3.1.3.2 Size
3.1.3.3 Process Automation
3.1.4 Directed Energy Deposition
3.1.4.1 Large New Players (DMG Mori, Trumpf + French Company BeAM)
3.2 3D print technologies for tooling and prototyping
3.2.1 Material extrusion for composites
3.2.2 Photopolymerization
3.2.3 Large size sandstone binder jetting for tooling
3.3 Role of specialist service bureau
3.4 Ten-year forecasts of 3D printers used for civil aviation
3.5 Ten-year forecasts of specialist aerospace services bureaus
3.6 Ten-year software forecasts
3.6 Key points from this chapter

Chapter Four: Market Opportunities for AM Materials for Commercial and General Aviation
3.1 Metals moving beyond aircraft engines
3.1.1 Turbine blades
3.1.2 Fuel nozzles and other engine components
3.1.3 Airframes and major structural components
3.2 Polymer opportunities evolving as transition to manufacturing continues
3.2.1 3D printing with high performance polymers for metal replacement/weight optimization
3.3 The rise of composite materials and technologies for 3D printing large aircraft parts
3.4 Polymer and composite applications in flight parts and production
3.4.1 Electrical housing components
3.4.2 Tools
3.4.3 Environmental control systems
3.4.4 Cabin components
3.5 Ten-Year forecasts of AM materials used for commercial and general aviation
3.5.1 Summary of ten-year metals forecasts
3.5.2 Summary of ten-year polymer and Composites Forecasts
3.6 Key Points from this Chapter

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