In 2017, the global aerospace additive manufacturing market was valued at USD 733.1 Mn and is anticipated to display a CAGR of 20.24% during the forecast period of 2018 to 2023. This projects substantial, and rapid growth over the assessment period and the market is expected to reach an estimated value of USD 2,202.1 Mn by the end of 2023.
Global concern for the environment is growing and has impacted the growth of various industries in an effort to reduce harmful effects to the environment. Modern aircraft design requires weight reduction to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The aerospace industry is consistently looking to implement manufacturing methods which increase the efficiency of aircraft function while reducing fuel consumption, and pollution; this reduces operating costs and allows for an increase in profit margins, thus driving the demand for additive manufacturing processes. Additive manufacturing (AM) is utilized for making prototypes and parts at lower costs while keeping efficiency and lightweight features in mind. Additionally, AM processes are highly convenient as it offers the possibility to manufacture on-site based on a requirement which simplifies and streamlines the supply chain. The process contributes to the reduction or elimination of assembly lines, tools and the need to keep a large inventory of the finished product. For instance, GE now additively manufactures some of the hollows fuel nozzles for aircraft that it previously manufactured in pieces and assembled later. This process has thus reduced the product’s supply chain for GE. The high efficiency and potential that AM processes offer are expected to drive the market with significant growth during the assessment period.
Materials used in aerospace AM have superior properties such as the ability to withstand high temperature and air pressure which aircraft are susceptible to at greater heights. Polymers are presently the most widely used AM materials, which require a great deal of development as the variety of materials presently available is limited and therefore very expensive. For instance, in the case of metal-based AM, powder metals are mainly used as the feedstock. However, powder metals are much costlier than the sheet metals. The high costs associated with AM materials is expected to restrict growth over the forecast period. However, major market players are investing significantly in the development of properties, quality, and availability of varieties of AM materials. For instance, varieties of metals such as aluminum alloys, titanium alloys, and nickel-based alloys are now available for AM. Similarly, a variety of polymer, ceramic, and hybrid materials are also available. GE and CFM are testing the use of CMC (Ceramic Matrix Composite) for additive manufactured parts in jet engines. The additively manufactured CMC parts have been reported to outperform the metallic alloys in a gas turbine for jet aircraft. Functionally driven designs which are impossible to replicate using traditional methods and the availability of new high-tech AM materials are expected to improve efficiency in high-temperature applications such as the manufacturing of engines. This in addition to other market opportunities is expected to contribute to the rapid growth of the global aerospace AM market.
The global aerospace additive manufacturing market is segmented on the basis of platform, application, material type, technology, and region. By platform, the market is segmented into aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicle, and spacecraft. The aircraft segment has the largest share and is expected to maintain its leading position due to the high demand for passenger aircraft combined with the high demand for AM processes in light of their cost-efficiency and ability to manufacture multiple complex designs with ease. Meanwhile, the unmanned aerial vehicle segment is set to grow at the highest CAGR during the review period due to the demand for such vehicles as they begin to exit the development stage.
By application, the market is segmented into engine, structural and others. The engine segment accounts for the largest share of the total market and is expected to be the fastest growing segment with the highest CAGR during the forecast period. AM processes for making engines has proven to be a valuable investment as it has significantly assisted in reducing engine weight, and replication of complex designs which are highly cost-efficient.
By material type, the market is segmented into metal alloy, plastic, rubber, and others. The metal alloy segment presently accounts for the largest segment and is expected to be the fastest growing segment during the assessment period. Metal alloys are available in various forms and have extensive application in the aerospace industry for the manufacture of rocket & propulsion hardware, engine injector, and fuel nozzles among others.
By technology, the market is segmented into 3D printing, laser sintering, fused deposition modeling, electron beam melting, and stereolithography. The 3D printing segment dominates the market and has the highest CAGR during the forecast period. It is the ideal technology for the manufacturing of lightweight components without any wastage of materials and has extensive applications in aerospace AM.
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North America accounts for the largest share of the global market and is projected to grow at a rapid pace to experience the highest regional CAGR during the assessment period. The region has a strong presence of multiple leading market players who are pivotal in the development of the market and the associated technologies. The U.S leads the region’s growth and has one of the highest production and sales of industrial AM machinery. The players in this region drive R&D activities which have been vital in the development of innovative AM technology and have increased the adoption of AM.
Europe accounts for the second largest market across the globe and is one of the leading markets for AM technology. The EU & member governments are highly supportive of the development of the AM sector in the region, and considerable efforts have been made towards the same. Subsidies and research & development activities are expected to help the region gain an edge over other regions in terms of technology in the aerospace industry during the assessment period.
Eminent market-leading players that have been analyzed during the course of market review include Stratasys, EOS, GE Additive, 3D System, and ExOne. These players employ market strategies such as product innovation, research, and development activities and cost-effective offerings among others. Other important market players include Arcam AB, CRS Holdings Inc., CRP Technology, SLM Solutions, Optomec, ATI and Concept Laser.
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