Aerospace Additive Manufacturing

Aerospace additive manufacturing has already taken off. This industrial segment largely skipped the prototyping “era” and jumped right into researching AM for part production. The advantages of weight optimization are such – for any object that leaves the ground (this is even more true for objects that need to reach orbit) – that the benefits from topology optimization and lattices, made possible by AM, were crystal clear from the very beginning.

Now AM for aerospace is seeing some serious growth in adoptions. In addition the commercial and general aviation market is set to continue on its booming growth path over the next twenty years, driven by factors such as economic growth, rapidly expanding middle classes in emerging economies, liberalization of trade, and increasing tourism. All these elements will drive significant growth in aircraft demand.

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.  Important new opportunities continue to emerge in this area in both metal AM and polymer AM (metal replacement and composite).

Advancements in CAD, CAE, CAM and PLM software are driving the need for AM in general and commercial aviation manufacturing. More optimized, complex shapes and the need for a more automated production process make AM ideal for a growing number of production requirements.

Several new players in the hardware market are driving down the cost of materials and are expected to drive up consumption. The polymer powder bed segment is expected to benefit from new systems that support open materials. The same is true for most powder bed metal AM system OEM’s. Even the industrial FDM materials market, currently entirely held by Stratasys, is now opening up to third-party material suppliers.

Latest aerospace additive manufacturing news:

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