3D Printing in Aerospace—Revolution or Evolution?
After highlighting additive manufacturing (AM) as one of the most important technological trends in aerospace and defence, Frost and Sullivan attended the Additive Manufacturing for Defence and Aerospace summit in London in February 2015 to evaluate and align its current research with the industry. Looking at how many people attended this event and the variety of organisations represented (aircraft and engine manufacturers, lower tier suppliers, academics, and so on) the first conclusion is additive manufacturing is clearly drawing a lot of attention. Many attendees and speakers agreed that additive manufacturing will not replace the conventional processes. However, in many cases, it will be a great substitute that will play a major role in the future developments in aviation. The industry perception is that AM will be adopted, but how quickly it will be adopted is the current question. Will AM processes be adopted faster than composite and carbon fibre material on aerospace platforms had been? The military forces could adopt it quicker and drive its evolution in the commercial world as the qualification and certification processes are not as stringent in the forces as they are in commercial aviation. In this market insight, the current achievements of additive manufacturing in the aviation industry have been highlighted, along with the main motivations to implement AM, the major challenges, and the importance of understanding AM as an end-to-end process. Industry stakeholders have identified this as an essential step towards reaching a high level of reliability, driving wider adoption.
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