US Department of Defense to Spend $1.8B on 3D Printing in 2032, Says First Intelligence Report on Defense from AMR

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Additive Manufacturing (AM) Research (formerly SmarTech Analysis) has published its first ever intelligence report on the 3D printing market for defense, “Additive Manufacturing for Military and Defense.” Among other highlights, the report estimates that the US Department of Defense (DoD) will spend a total of $300 million directly on AM in 2023, and that this spending will reach $1.8 billion by 2032.

Tali Rosman, an established figure in the AM sector who launched XEROX’s ElemX (recently acquired by ADDiTEC) 3D printing division, was the lead author on the report. Matt Kremenetsky, 3DPrint.com’s Macro Analyst as well as an analyst for AM Research, was the report’s co-author.

While at ElemX, Rosman was responsible for the deal that led to the installation of the first metal 3D printer to successfully print parts aboard an in-service US Navy vessel. That milestone that was reached in the summer of 2022 both encapsulated years of DoD AM activity which led up to its occurrence, and foreshadowed many major DoD AM developments that have taken place subsequently.

Image by Petty Officer 3rd Class Isaak Martinez, courtesy of U.S. Navy

At the beginning of our work, Tali and I determined that, in order for the report to be successful, this unique — and uniquely complicated — area of the AM sector would require a special sort of analysis. In its final form, the report is more successful than I could’ve hoped for at the outset.

Defense is probably the least “typical” AM market (if such a thing exists) that one could try to get a handle on. Reliable quantitative data is far less readily available than in other areas of the 3D printing sector. Governments are some of the most idiosyncratic customers in existence, and the prevalence/necessity of classified information makes for a far more rigorous road to certainty than is the case when analyzing other markets.

For this reason, Rosman and I also put qualitative analysis at the forefront of the text. This was coupled with top-notch quantitative analysis by AMR Executive Vice President of Research Scott Dunham, as well as Rosman’s meticulous scouring of the DoD budget. Notably, the report includes never-before-published expert testimony from Matthew Sermon, Executive Director of Program Executive Office (PEO), Strategic Submarines for the US Navy, and Steven Camilleri, chief technology officer (CTO) of SPEE3D. This latter entity represents one of the biggest success stories to-date in terms of AM companies entering the US defense industrial base.

Image courtesy of AM Research

Above all, the central focus on the DoD and its increasingly active role in building up the US defense industrial base (DIB) is what sets this report apart. If defense is such a singularly unique market, much of the reason for that involves the unparalleled role of the US DIB in driving demand in the defense sector globally.

In other words, especially when it comes to defense, all national markets have not been created equally. AM companies that don’t specifically emphasize the US market in their defense efforts are missing out on the biggest opportunity for scale, not only in the defense sector, but probably AM’s biggest opportunity for scale, period. This is a market where timing is everything, and if you don’t already have a strategy for defense, you’re already way behind. “Additive Manufacturing for Military and Defense can give the companies that are behind a leg-up that will be impossible to find anywhere else, and can help companies that are already in the defense market maintain and build upon their footholds.

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