Additive Manufacturing Opportunities in the Aerospace Industry:  A Ten-Year Forecast

Reasons to Buy this Report

  • The only market study available that identifies the opportunities for additive manufacturing in the aerospace industry over the next ten years.  This report covers analyzes and provides ten-year forecasts for SLS, SL/SLA, DMLS, DED and FDM machines, along with related software and materials (titanium, nickel, thermoplastics and epoxy acrylates).
  • Unique two-pronged forecasting methodology.  The report includes a bottom-up forecast based on our understanding of likely industry demand.  It also includes a top-down forecast, based on funding available for AM in the aerospace sector.  SmarTech believes that the convergence of these two separate forecasts will provide additional confidence in our projections for aerospace AM.  Both forecasts cover ten-years and are in volume and value terms.
  • Based on in-depth interviews with leading aerospace and additive manufacturing equipment firms, this report provides guidance on the strategies for leading players in aerospace-related AM.  It also includes real world examples of where AM is already making large contributions to the aerospace industry’s bottom line. 
  • A thorough discussion and quantification of how additive manufacturing can contribute to cost reduction and value creation for the aerospace industry through prototyping, reduction of complex sub-assemblies, weight reduction, supply chain improvements, and use of improved materials.


The aerospace is regularly discussed as one of the largest opportunities for additive manufacturing (AM) over the next decade. These discussions point to the sizeable demand in the aerospace industry for high-value, metal parts that are as complex as they are compact. This demand creates large opportunities to design, produce, and supply parts manufactured with AM processes to an industry with fat pockets.

The aerospace industry exhibits a number of characteristics that have 3D entrepreneurs licking their chops. AM has the potential to improve supply chain paradigms, minimize replacement part inventories, and streamline production processes.   In fact, many AM companies recognize these opportunities and are racing to provide products that can serve latent demand in the aerospace industry.

In this report, SmarTech identifies the profitable opportunities of AM applications in aerospace industry. More than merely speculating on what AM can do in the aerospace industry, this report focuses down on exactly where and how AM will be implemented in the aerospace industry supply chain and business activities.  Readers of the report will gain an in-depth understanding of what AM means to the aerospace industry, as well as a comprehensive framework for understanding new developments in the industry.

Each chapter of the report breaks down one of the three specific sectors of the aerospace industry that will be affected by AM over the next ten years: commercial aviation, military aircraft, and spacecraft. Each chapter provides critical analysis through an exploration of the processes, software, materials, services, and major players active in the industry. This report also provides the reader with a clear understanding of technological progress, market size, time to market, and associated risks for the multi-million dollar opportunities for AM in aerospace.

This report also analyzes the largest AM equipment manufacturers likely to supply the industry. Product portfolios are strategically analyzed to offer insight on how the specific technologies behind AM systems will affect their adoption in the aerospace industry.

As with other SmarTech offerings, this report contains ten years forecasts on AM equipment, materials, software, services, and opportunities in the aerospace sector. These forecasts are collected from an exhaustive number of interviews conducted with professionals in the aerospace and AM industries. Detailed forecasts allow business executives to stand on solid ground when crafting strategy, as well as confirm internally generated numbers with a reputable outside source.

SmarTech believes that this report will provide invaluable guidance for material, software, and equipment manufacturing companies in the aerospace industry, 3D printing industry, and other related sectors. We also think that this report will be required reading for investors examining aerospace industry opportunities.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Intro
1.1 Background
1.2 Opportunities In The Aerospace Industry
1.3 Scope of This Report
1.4 Methodology of This Report
1.5 Plan of This Report

Chapter Two: Current Applications for Additive Manufacturing in Commercial Aviation
2.1 Viable Substitutes For Complex Sub-Assemblies
2.1.1 Tier-Two Contracting Applications
2.1.2 Tier-Three Contracting Applications
2.2 Weight Reduction In Cabin Parts
2.2.1 Re-Tooling The Existing Commercial Fleet
2.2.2 Taking Advantage of CAD/CAM Design
2.3 Ameliorating The Supply Chain For Replacement Parts
2.3.1 Interfacing with the Open Aerospace Exchange
2.4 Super Plastics As A Substitute For Small Metal Parts
2.5 Functional Prototypes As A Competitive Advantage
2.5.1 The Benefits of 3D Printing Clusters
2.5.2 Assembling The Correct Portfolio of 3D Printers
2.6 Next Level Integration AM-enabled Designs Into Airplane Designs
2.7 Coping With Exacting Materials and Part Performance Requirements
2.7.1 Progress in Materials Qualification
2.7.2 New Innovations In Material Qualifications, Standards, and Regulation
2.7.3 Test Equipment and Services

Chapter Three: Additive Manufacturing in Military Applications
3.1 Streamlining Development and Cycles and Combating Technological Crawl
3.1.1 CAD/CAM Enables New Coordination And Collaboration
3.2 Low-Volume Manufacturing Could Usher In New Production Paradigms
3.2.1 The Last Generation of Combat Fighter: The Ever-Evolving Design
3.3 Specific Applications in Military
3.3.1 Fighter Aircraft
3.3.2 Transport Aircraft
3.3.3 Helicopters
3.3.4 Drones
3.4 AM In Combat Settings

Chapter Four: Current Applications for Additive Manufacturing (AM) in Space Industry
4.1 One-off Parts And Their Drag On The Economics of Space Travel
4.2 Functional Prototyping Reduces Development Times
4.3 Materials Cleared For Use In Space
4.4 3D Printers In Space

Chapter Five: Analysis of Key AM Equipment Manufacturers
5.1 3D Systems
5.2 Ex-One
5.3 GE
5.4 Arcam
5.5 Concept Laser
5.6 EOS
5.7 Renishaw
5.8 SLM Solutions
5.9 Trumpf
5.10 Sciaki
5.11 DM3D Technologies
5.12 Stratsys
5.13 Voxeljet
5.14 EnvisionTEC

Chapter Six: Ten-Year Forecasts For 3D Printing In Aerospace
6.1 Equipment
6.2 Materials
6.3 Software
6.4 Services
6.4.1 Market For Complex Sub-Assemblies
6.4.2 Market For Replacement Parts
6.4.3 Market For Functional Prototypes
6.4.4 Market For Super Plastic Applications

About the Author

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