Aerospace

The aerospace additive manufacturing jetliner has taken off. This industrial segment largely skipped the prototyping “era” and jumped right into researching AM for part production. The advantages of weight optimization for any object that leaves the ground are such that the benefits from topology optimization and generative, optimized lattice geometries, made possible by AM, were crystal clear from the very beginning. This is even truer for objects that need to reach orbit, as the space vehicle manufacturing industry shapes up to become a giant industrial segment over the next ten to twenty years.


AM for aerospace has seen some serious growth in adoption over the past two years (since we began tracking this segment through our websites and in our market reports on aviation and space AM applications. 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, used for metal replacement and composites. 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.


In addition, the aerospace industry does not have to wait for new, higher speed AM technologies. The productivity offered by current polymer powder bed fusion and even thermoplastic filament extrusion systems – as well as metal powder bed fusion and directed energy deposition systems- is more than enough to satisfy the industry’s demands for short batch production. And the extensive range of high-performance materials now supported by these technologies is an ideal fit for many advanced flying parts. GE reported a few months ago that over 30,000 fuel nozzles had already been produced. That is just the beginning.


Keep following us, because during the next two weeks, as part of this AM Focus on Aerospace applications  we will take you to see the latest news at the Paris Space and Aerospace Show (SIAE) at Salon Le Bourget, and then we will welcome you to our exclusive webinar with the aerospace additive manufacturing experts from Siemens, 3D Systems and Sciacky. You can register here. And we will see you there.

Latest aerospace additive manufacturing news:

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