In its latest 200-page report, SmarTech Analysis is forecasting that the overall market for AM in automotive will reach $5.3 billion in revenues in 2023 and then grow to an impressive $12.4 billion US by 2028. Thus, adoption of AM by the automotive segment for production purposes is going to mark an inflection point for the additive manufacturing.
While the market today remains focused on prototyping and tooling, parts production will become the primary revenue opportunity by the end of the forecast period, surpassing all other segments. Parts production including metal and polymer parts, as well as both parts produced internally by automotive OEM’s and in outsourcing, are expected to be the primary revenue opportunity driving the entire segment, totaling nearly $4.3 billion US by the end of the forecast period.
Interviews with major AM and automotive industry stakeholders and information collection activities were used to identify several trends that confirmed this analysis. One is that major new hardware from leading vendors is now focusing on automotive part production: these systems include multi-jet fusion (HP), digital light synthesis (Carbon) as well as metal binder jetting projects from Desktop Metal, GE, HP and Stratasys. At the same time, current AM market leaders such as Stratasys, 3D Systems, EOS and EnvisionTEC have all been upgrading and optimizing their technologies and processes looking to capitalize on the opportunity for higher batch production.
In addition, major automotive OEMs have formed partnerships with AM hardware OEM focusing on part production, given the value they see from integrating additive manufacturing into their processes. Finally, next-generation softwares from Siemens, Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, Materialise and many more are now enabling both optimized part design for AM and AM integration into the end-to-end production workflow. They are supported by advanced CAM (computer aided manufacturing), CAE (computer aided engineering), AM process simulation and AM process monitoring tools provided by both first and third-party vendors.
One key innovation presented in this report consists of the most in-depth analysis of final parts production in automotive AM available today. In order to assess this, we analyzed the parts that could in the short, medium and long-term period benefit from AM as a mean of production. We confronted them with the currently available technologies and materials, while also taking into consideration possible new evolutions in terms of part size, batch size and materials science.