Frost & Sullivan’s (London) recent analysis of the global 3D printing materials market for the aerospace industry reveals that the market is set to experience significant opportunities for rapid growth. Leading industry participants such as Boeing and Airbus intend to expedite the adoption of 3D printing technology to reduce supply chain complexities and costs, shorten time frames, enhance functionality and performance, and produce lighter and safer flight-worthy parts and products.
The analysis from Frost & Sullivan anticipates the global 3D printing materials market for the aerospace industry to reach $535.1 million by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 20.3% between 2017 and 2024.
“The aerospace industry is witnessing a quantum change in terms of supply-chain re-arrangement as 3D printing manufacturing makes inroads,” said Sayan Mukherjee, senior research analyst, chemicals and materials at Frost & Sullivan. “Material manufacturers with industry-qualified products have immense opportunity to cash in on double-digit growth.”
To gain a competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving market, Mukherjee recommends material manufacturers collaborate with machinery manufacturers such as Stratasys, EOS, and 3-D Systems to develop materials that are innovative, air-worthy, and suitable for large 3D printing. Leveraging new business models, designing products for different applications, and utilizing product bundling are further strategies to embrace.
Five key trends creating growth opportunities in the market include:
- Plastic filaments leading the 3D printing materials market, driven by their high adoption rate due to early availability of the technology;
- Metal powders having huge application potential in critical aircraft parts, including engine and static components;
- A market shift toward production of flight-worthy parts in the next five years;
- Boost to tooling applications through 3D printing; and,
- The rationalization of prices over the next few years, making additive manufacturing a more desired solution.
“Although 3D printing greatly reduces cost involvement and turnaround time for short-volume production, the slow printing speed can be a hindrance to high-volume production until faster printing technology is available,” Mukherjee said. “Furthermore, the lack of clarity among end users regarding the medium- and long-term benefits of adopting 3D printing is a challenge to the industry.”