Additive Manufacturing: The Next Big Thing, But How Big?


The tantalizing but complex topic of additive manufacturing – the production of parts built layer by layer -- was in focus as Day 2 of Aviation Week’s MRO Americas conference opened in Phoenix on April 9.

Matthew Bromberg, president of aftermarket at engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, says the day will come when overhaul shops will simply “print” their replacement parts, speeding up repair tasks and reducing inventory stocks. “It will work and it will be efficient,” he said in a keynote address at the MRO show, which drew 10,000 attendees. “It’s the way the industry will go.”

But even the most seasoned veterans of additive manufacturing are not sure how quickly the technology will be adapted in the aerospace industry. Mike Cloran, director of marketing for GE Aviation’s Additive Development Center, has long been an evangelist for additive metals manufacturing. He puts the current size of the additive manufacturing market – machines, materials and services – at $2.5 billion annually. But Cloran, speaking as part of an additive manufacturing panel that followed Bromberg’s address, says growth estimates vary widely. One calls for the market to mushroom to $16 billion within four years. Another forecasts it will take until 2025 just to get to $4 billion. 


Cloran notes that additive manufacturing for metals parts has only been in existence for a decade, and says applications for the technology are expected to increase exponentially, particularly after 2018, as the process uses multiple metals to create designer alloys. “Over the last few years, it has grown way beyond our expectations,” he says.


Please or Register to post comments.

What's Things With Wings?

Aviation Week's civil aviation blog

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Jan 31, 2016

Tupolev 104: Harsh Proof Of Rapid Soviet Progress (1956) 18

Since little detail was available of the Russian design and built Tupolev 104, a profile was compiled for Aviation Week, based entirely on observations from photographs, experts such as engineers knowledgeable in typical Russian aircraft design and of its landing at London Airport....More
Jan 28, 2016

A Near View Of French Aviators (1917) 2

Some of the largest battles of the First World War were taking place in France when Aviation Week was first published....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×