Market Snapshot: Aircraft Composites

Composites have been used in the aerospace industry for decades and are prized for their exceptional strength and light weight. As the percentage of aircraft bodies using these materials increases, so does the need for improved techniques and properties for their durability and maintenance. While there is considerable focus placed on the use of composites in aircraft bodies and fuselage, composite joints and components that are more durable, inspectable, maintainable, lightweight, and affordable than traditional through-thickness fasteners or adhesive bonding are also being developed.

According to research form MarketsandMarkets, the aerospace composites market is projected to grow from $24.49 Billion in 2016 to $42.97 Billion by 2022, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.85% between 2017 and 2022. The use of aerospace composites is increasing, due to the high strength and reduced weight as well as the increased heat resistance offered by these materials making them desirable to both military and commercial aviation. The US is the largest consumer of aerospace composites globally, in terms of value and volume due, in part, to the presence of giant players such as Boeing and GE along with the establishment of several new carbon fiber production plants in the U.S.

Aerospace composites are used in interior as well as exterior structural components of aircraft with exterior structural applications comprising a large portion of the aerospace composites market. The high demand for carbon fiber composites in airframe structures is due to their light weight, increased fuel efficiency, superior performance, easy maintenance, and reduced part counts. However, a few factors act as restraints in the growth of the aerospace composites market – recyclability and lack of standardization in manufacturing technologies are expected to be the major restraints for the growth of the aerospace composites market. Additionally, the high cost of aerospace composites technologies has been a point of concern associated with its expansion into structural applications of aircraft. While these aircraft applications now becoming more commonplace, composites are heading to space – Lockheed Martin developed a composite heat shield to protect the Mars 2020 rover from the intense heat during entry, descent, and landing using a tiled Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA).

To meet the increasing demand for these materials, manufacturers of aerospace composites are entering supply agreements with various industries to secure their positions in the aerospace composites market. This has given rise to a diversified and established ecosystem of upstream players, such as raw material suppliers and downstream stakeholders, which include aerospace composites manufacturers, aerospace composites vendors, end users, and government organizations. Many major players in the aerospace composites market have adopted backward and forward integration strategies to strengthen their positions in the market. The key players in the global composites market are Owens Corning (US), Toray Industries, Inc. (Japan), Teijin Limited (Japan), Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (Japan), Hexcel Corporation (US), SGL Group (Germany), Nippon Electrical Glass Co. Ltd. (Japan), Koninklijke Ten Cate (Netherlands), Huntsman International LLC. (US), and Solvay (Belgium).

The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) is the world’s largest composites industry trade group and hosts a variety of annual events, the Thermoplastic Composites Conference is coming up in May. The International Conference on Aerospace Composites and Technology is taking place in April and will bring together academic scientists, researchers and research scholars in the field.

Market Snapshot: Additive Manufacturing

From schools and public libraries to the Department of Defense and industry, additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology is being used everywhere.  Additive manufacturing (AM) encompasses many technologies, including subsets like 3D printing, rapid prototyping, direct digital manufacturing, layered manufacturing and additive fabrication. As a process, additive manufacturing uses a computer-aided design (CAD) file to precisely control layer-by-layer, or point-by-point, buildup of material into three dimensional objects. The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) sees AM an emerging technology with many promising applications for both industry and Government including:

  • Rapid iterations of prototyping, reducing time and money for design
  • Reduction in wait time
  • Enabling of just in time manufacturing on site at locations
  • Support of immediate readiness
  • Small, unique production runs

In July of 2019 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published Solving Industry’s Additive Manufacturing Challenges providing a comprehensive look at AM in the U.S. and the Department’s role in this dynamic market. DOE estimates that AM might reduce waste and materials costs by nearly 90% and cut manufacturing energy use in half when compared to traditional manufacturing practices. DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) provides information on funding opportunities, roadmaps, strategic plans, and events and its AMO Multi-Year Program Plan (FY 2017- FY 2021) includes additive manufacturing as a technology area covered in the plan.

Within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), an integrated DoD Additive Manufacturing (AM) Roadmap was published in December 2016 and strategic implementation plans for AM have been independently produced by the USAF and the U.S. Department of the Navy (DON), and the U.S. Army has also developed a draft AM technology report. While each Service has its own plan and system for AM research, all the services are members of the National Manufacturing Institutes, or “Manufacturing USA” which is a public-private partnership, jointly funded by government and private industry, focused on advanced manufacturing, including additive manufacturing. Through Manufacturing USA the America Makes Institute in Youngstown, OH is focused on additive manufacturing (AM) and has funded more than 60 projects since it was founded in 2012. The 2020 Military Additive Manufacturing Summit & Technology Showcase is coming up in February.

To help quantify this market, BCC Research reports that the global market for 3D printing reached $10.2 billion in 2019 and should reach $27.5 billion by 2024, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.0% for the period of 2019-2024. As a whole, the global manufacturing industry grew at a 3% rate year-on-year in 2019, contributing 30% to the global GDP. This total industry growth is attributed to new technologies including automation, 3D printing and a marked increase in automobile and electronics production. From a capabilities standpoint, the ability to 3D print metal materials is an exciting ongoing development – given that the process uses no tooling, is almost fully automated, and adds rather than removes material to allow for more optimized geometries makes metal 3D printing into an attractive option for parts that might typically be very difficult or expensive to manufacture, including legacy parts, line automation tools, and functional cast prototypes manufacturing. These features are especially attractive in automotive and defense applications.

Key participants in the additive manufacturing space include 3D Systems Inc., General Electric, EnvisionTEC, Mcor Technologies Ltd., Optomec Inc., Stratasys Ltd, EOS GmbH, The ExOne Company and MakerBot Industries, LLC. While this has been a highly concentrated industry, AMFG’s Additive Manufacturing Landscape offers a detailed overview of the key players and categories within the additive manufacturing industry and includes 171 different players.

Hoping to learn more? Try attending an upcoming additive manufacturing event in 2020!

Market Snapshot: Autonomous & Semi-Autonomous Vehicles

The automobile and driving have been cornerstones of both industry and daily life for over a century. However, in recent years more and more portions of this way of life have become automated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the continuing goal of automotive technology is to deliver increasing safety benefits and Automated Driving Systems (ADS) where fully automated cars and trucks will drive us, instead of us driving them. Enabling technologies have been incrementally introduced and accepted ranging from cruise control to lane assist technology.

Driven by various factors, including the need for ease in driving and the increasing concern for safety and security, which lead to demand for high-end technology resulting in the increased demand for semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles, MarketsandMarkets reports that semi-autonomous vehicles market volume was estimated to be 10.5 Million Units in 2017 and is projected to reach 27.7 Million Units by 2022 growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.36%. The autonomous vehicles market is estimated to be 0.5 Million Units in 2025 and is projected to reach 6.9 Million Units by 2030 growing at a CAGR of 68.94% from 2025 to 2030. When quantified from a revenue perspective, Allied Market Research reports that global autonomous vehicle market size is forecast to be valued at $54.23 billion in 2019, and is expected to reach $556.67 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 39.47% from 2019 to 2026. These vehicles use artificial intelligence (AI) software, light detection & ranging (LiDAR), and RADAR sensing technology.

While sensors play many roles in the automotive market, autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles are a driving force in their use. These vehicles combine sensors and software to control, navigate, and drive the vehicle, and use LiDAR and RADAR sensors for its operation. The majority of self-driving systems create and maintain an internal map of their surroundings, based on a wide array of sensors. BCC Research reports that the global market for automobile sensors should grow from $35.4 billion in 2018 to $66.2 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 13.4% from 2018 to 2023.

From a regional perspective, North America is expected to dominate the semi-autonomous vehicles market, in terms of volume, followed by Europe and Asia Pacific. Semi-autonomous vehicles volumes have increases in recent years, with OEMs catering not only to the domestic demand but also to the overseas demand. Moreover, in 2025 North America is likely to lead the autonomous vehicles market in terms of volume followed by Europe and Asia Pacific, as key technology innovators such as Google, Microsoft, and Delphi automotive are significantly investing in and testing the technology to commercialize the same.

However, barriers in this market include the lack of infrastructure to support autonomous cars in developing nations, concerns regarding cyber security and safety of the personal data of the users, and consumers’ hesitation to accept fully autonomous cars are some of the restraints that might hinder the growth of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. Frost & Sullivan reports that while technology development and the lack of a robust regulatory framework are the greatest obstacles in this market today, the need to understand consumer demand and the use of data for generating revenues will be the key challenge to address for OEMs in the future. To achieve this, analysts believe that OEMs will need to focus on developing flexible, autonomous platforms capable of providing multiple vehicle types for specific use cases to be successful in the future.

To learn more, consider attending a conference in 2020 – Autonomous Vehicles and Machines 2020 kicks off the year in January, Autonomous Vehicles 2020 takes place in February, and the Autonomous Vehicles Test & Development Symposium will take place alongside Automotive Testing Expo in October.

Market Snapshot: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

As recently as a decade or two ago, the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) becoming a part of our everyday lives seemed like a bit of a stretch to the average person, however, today many of us use it to accomplish everyday tasks. Whether its Siri answering your questions, Netflix recommending what to watch, or Nest knowing just how warm you like your house, AI has become a part of our lives.

To quantify this, MarketsandMarkets reports that the artificial intelligence market was valued at $21.5 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $190.6 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.6%. This growth is largely driven by the increasing adoption of cloud-based applications and services, and an increase in demand for intelligent virtual assistants. Whereas the major restraint for the market is surprisingly human, the limited number of AI technology experts is seen as a major restraint. Furthermore, concerns regarding data privacy and the unreliability of AI algorithms are also seen as pain points within the market. Underlying opportunities in the artificial intelligence market include improving operational efficiency in the manufacturing industry and the adoption of AI to improve customer service.

While we see the use of AI growing in our daily lives, the manufacturing industry is expected to grow at the highest CAGR – AI-based solutions are adopted in manufacturing facilities to improve the productivity by maximizing asset utilization, minimizing downtime, and improving machine efficiency. The enabling concepts of deep learning, natural language processing, context awareness, and computer vision are the major technologies used for data mining, image analysis, signal analysis, decision-making, and execution. Frost & Sullivan also points to the evolution of AI as the industry has shifted away from developing intelligent devices to addressing the next goal of developing AI solutions that can learn from data, just as humans do. In November 2019 the Department of Energy announced  $15 Million for Development of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Tools. The major players in this market include Intel (US), NVIDIA (US), Xilinx (US), Samsung (South Korea), Facebook (US), Micron(US), IBM (US), Google (US), Microsoft (US), and AWS (US).

Healthcare is another vertical that is rapidly adopting and seeing the benefits of AI, Frost & Sullivan expects AI and cognitive computing to generate savings of over $150 billion for the healthcare industry by 2025. Analysts see automated disease prediction, personalization of treatment pathways, intuitive claims management, and real-time supply chain management, as potential benefits of AI. However, the uptake in healthcare IT tends to be slow.

In early 2019 the Defense Department (DoD) launched its American Artificial Intelligence Strategy in conjunction with an Executive Order from the White House. The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) is the DoD’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Center of Excellence that integrates technology development, policy, knowledge, processes and relationships to ensure growth in this area. According to MarketsandMarkets, AI in the military market was valued at $5.54 billion in 2016 and is projected to reach $18.82 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 14.75% during the forecast period. Within the defense sector, AI is able to handle massive amounts of military data in a more efficient manner as compared to conventional systems. Analysts note that this improves the self-control, self-regulation, and self-actuation abilities of combat systems, using inherent computing and decision-making capabilities. Additionally, increases in funding from military research agencies and a rise in R&D activities to develop advanced AI systems are major driving factors in the adoption of AI systems in the military sector. Based on application, artificial intelligence in military market has been classified into information processing, warfare platforms, threat monitoring & situational awareness, planning & allocation, cyber security, simulation & training, logistics & transportation, target recognition, battlefield healthcare, and others (NBC scenario monitoring and fire monitoring).  However, the unreliability of AI algorithms and unavailability of structured data are key challenges to the growth of the artificial intelligence in military market.

Key players operating in the artificial intelligence in military market range from defense contractors to software firms, including: Lockheed Martin (US), Raytheon (US), IBM (US), BAE Systems (UK), Thales Group (France), NVIDIA (US), Leidos (US), SAIC (US), Northrop Grumman (US), SparkCognition (US), Harris Corporation (US), General Dynamics (US), and Charles River Analytics (US).

Interested in learning more? Try attending an AI conference or event in 2020!

Market Snapshot: Smart Grid Technology

When we think about next generation technology and innovation many of us think about advances in computing, medical devices, miniaturization of electronics, and more, but what is truly powering that innovation? While the power and electric grid has changed over time, many energy experts believe that the grid was not designed for today’s requirements and will demand next-generation grid technologies. This disconnect is attributed to fundamental changes in both supply-side and demand-side technologies. The advent of new energy systems and sources has shifted power generation away from large synchronous generators to smaller units and variable energy resources while the number of distributed energy resources and use of electronic converters in buildings, industrial equipment, and consumer devices is increasing. In addition to these fundamental changes in power supply and demand, increasing risks posed by extreme weather events, cyber threats, and physical attacks present new challenges with system security, reliability, and resilience.

The Smart Grid is one piece of grid modernization efforts, according to reports, smart grid technology is growing steadily with the global market expected to triple in size to approximately $61 billion U.S. dollars between 2017 and 2023. MarketsandMarkets covers various segments of the growing and evolving market for smart grid technologies ranging from smart transformers and meter management to grid networking, communication, and software. We’ve pulled together a few figures from some of our favorite databases that may be helpful as you explore the markets for technologies enabling grid transformation and modernization efforts.

In terms of distribution technologies, transformers are commonplace, but the introduction of smart monitoring systems will play a crucial role in this evolving landscape – the global smart transformers market was valued at $1.25 billion in 2016 and is projected to reach $2.43 billion by 2022, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.54%, from 2017 to 2022. While the digitalization of utilities is expected to boost the demand for smart transformers, the high equipment cost is seen as a major restraint. The high adoption of broadband power line communication devices in the indoor networking application area is one of the major driving factors for the power line communication market, which was valued at $5.5 billion in 2017 and is forecast to grown to $9.5 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 9.5%. Furthermore, growing government policies and legislative mandates for smart meters, the need for grid reliability, and the need for accurate utility bill generation are driving the global meter data management system market which is projected to be a $428 million market by 2023.

While these advancements in the deployment and reliability of smart grid systems may help answer power supply and demand issues at a grid-scale, they also give rise to concerns of security. These concerns touch every part of the system ranging from customer privacy to infrastructure security and vulnerability. BCC Research explores these concerns and helps to size the market for smart grid security which was valued at $4.45 billion in 2016 and is forecast to reach $11.06 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 10.65% from 2017 to 2025. The overarching goals of smart gird security solutions explored by BCC Research and other groups include: system vulnerability to physical attack or cyber attack, operating resiliency against security disruptions, secure access and data privacy for smart grid information, optimized network reliability, computing, and operational support for grid communications, and establishment of a framework for compliance.

Fittingly, November is Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience (CISR) Month, the Department of Energy Office of Electricity (OE) plays a crucial role in the development of enabling technologies and initiatives and provides an extensive look at its activities with smart grid development on its website. Looking past November, 2020 offers many opportunities to learn more about smart grid and critical infrastructure technologies – the Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT 2020) is sponsored by the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES), and will be held February 17-20, 2020 at the Grand Hyatt Washington, Washington D.C.