The aerospace industry is becoming more reliant on 3D printing, and that trend is expected to continue over the next four years, according to analysis company ReportsnReports.
The industry currently uses 3D printing for the fabrication of continuous units, including air ducts, wall panels and seat frameworks. The use of additive manufacturing makes the production of complex geometries and organic shapes more convenient and lightweight.
Between 2016 and 2020, ReportsnReports expects the global aerospace 3D printing market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 55.85 percent.
One of the primary drivers of the expansion is the miniaturization of jet engines.
“3D printing not only contributes to the overall weight reduction of the aircraft, but also enables miniaturization of aircraft components,” according to ReportsnReports. “This, in turn, results in fuel efficiency and a lower operating cost. When a gas turbine utilizes pulsed injection fuel instead of a constant injection, the pressure in both the compressor and combustion chamber increases. This enables the design of smaller and lighter compressor systems, which saves a considerable amount of fuel.”
In 2014, the aerospace industry accounted for 15 percent of all additive manufacturing uses, according to Wohlers Associates.