In our ‘Aerospace & Defence: top 5 trends that drove M&A in 2017’ report released in December, we acknowledged Additive Manufacturing (AM) as being a key driver of M&A activity in the Aerospace & Defence (A&D) sector and that it was on the verge on being adopted more widely.

Whilst the first 3D-printed metal part used in-flight was created in 2003, AM has traditionally been used to assist in the prototyping stage. More recently, however, there has been an industry shift to speed up the usage and implementation of 3D-printed components.

Having established its own additive manufacturing division in 2017, this week Boeing announced a five-year strategic partnership with Oerlikon, a Swiss-based engineering group, to further develop its processes. Oerlikon CEO Roland Fischer suggested that the partnership will drive "the faster adoption of additive manufacturing in the rapidly growing aerospace, space and defence markets”.

As businesses look to increase their operational effectiveness and maintain their competitive edge, we expect to see further deployment and support for AM, not only in A&D, but also in the wider industrial space.