The military 3D and 4D printing market is expected to register a CAGR of more than 10% during the forecast period (2020 - 2025).
- Currently, the increasing need to simplify the process of manufacturing of parts and components, as well as weapons and equipment, in the defense industry is driving the growth of the military 3D and 4D printing market during the forecast period.
- Additionally, the increasing investments by armed forces for the reduction in manufacturing cost maintenance of military equipment, along with high demand for lightweight parts, are further expected to bolster the penetration of additive manufacturing for military applications.
- With the changes in battlefield requirements, the equipment that changes (shape or properties) in accordance with the environment is likely to help armies gain an upper hand. To have this tactical advantage, investments in 4D printed weapons are anticipated to grow rapidly in the future.
Key Market Trends
Airborne Segment Contributed Highest Market Share in 2019
- The demand for lightweight components of airborne applications, to reduce the fuel and maintenance costs, is generating the demand for this market in the airborne segment.
- The US Air Force is currently using 3D-printed parts on C-5 Galaxy transport jets. The parts are used in various parts of the cabin and crew bunk areas of the plane, which include overhead panels, reading and emergency light covers, window reveals, and gasper panels.
- As the Air Force’s additive manufacturing library of parts continues to grow, the cost benefits of additive manufacturing production may increase. Generally, the direct energy deposition process is extensively used in manufacturing military aircraft equipment and parts, as it can manufacture a range of small metallic components to complex parts in huge volumes.
- Moreover, in the coming years, the US Air Force plans to add 20 additional components on the aircraft, made from polymers and high-end metals, such as titanium. Such robust plans to install additive manufactured components on aircraft are anticipated to generate demand for the segment in the future.
North America is Anticipated to Register the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period
- The growth of the North American region is majorly due to the increasing investments by the United States into 3D and 4D technology. The US Department of Defense (DoD) plans to rapidly adopt additive manufacturing.
- For this purpose, the DoD has found the Manufacturing USA network with more than 1,900 member organizations. Through this network, companies are investing in new programs to integrate 3D printing into the US Army and US Air Force manufacturing operations. For instance, under Phase 3 of MAMLS project funded by the Air Force Research, the prime focus is to reduce the cost and lead time, to fabricate replacement components for legacy aircraft.
- Similarly, in February 2019, Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) of the US Army acquired a Rize One 3D printer, for manufacturing of on-demand of spare parts and tools. Such efforts by the government, to integrate the advanced technology manufacturing parts and components for reducing the costs, are anticipated to generate the highest demand from North America during the forecast period.
- Some of the prominent players in the market studied are Stratasys Ltd, 3T Additive Manufacturing Ltd, Engineering & Manufacturing Services Inc., Norsk Titanium US Inc., and Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc.
- The market is currently consolidated with very few players that provide the defense industry with 3D printed components and equipment. However, due to high profitability in 3D manufacturing and increasing market prospects of 4D printing in military applications, the market is expected to become highly fragmented in the years to come with many players entering the market.
- Furthermore, investments and partnership contracts of governments, as well as armed forces around the world, is expected to help the companies increase their cashflows and profits. Additionally, the tier-1 suppliers for major defense contractors are acquiring the 3D manufacturers, to expand their capabilities with additive manufactured product lines.
- For instance, in March 2019, Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. acquired 3D Material Technologies (3DMT) from ARC Group Worldwide Inc. 3DMT provides 3D printing services for the medical, industrial, aerospace, and defense markets. Such acquisition of 3D printing service providers by the defense players is anticipated to expand the implementation of additive manufacturing in the defense sector in the near future.
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