3 Segments of the Aerospace and Defense Industry Adapt to A Changing Market

Birds Flying High – 3D Printing in the Sky

Aerospace Infographic

The Aerospace and Defense industry has had an interesting time of it lately. Even before the pandemic hit, the industry known for soaring expansion was experiencing a rare downturn. But those who are known for innovation see every challenge as an opportunity. Aerospace Original Equipment Manufacturers, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul  providers and Suppliers have all embraced new best practices to ensure they’re still flying high. Follow along with our new infographic to learn more!

The Aerospace and Defense (A&D) industry is a big business. In 2019 it accounted for 2.5 million jobs in the U.S., 1.6 million of which are part of the supply chain that provide parts and maintenance to OEMs and end-users, such as the airlines, NASA and the military.  Collectively, OEMs, Suppliers and MROs generated a mind blowing $929 Billion in economic output in 2019 (and that was during a downturn!). Let’s break the industry segments down.

Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul

Just as the title indicates the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) industry take care of A&D products once they are delivered to the end buyer. MROs work directly with airlines and other A&D end users to repair and maintain airplanes, military vehicles, and more to ensure the equipment stays in top working order, extending the life of these valuable assets. As the A&D industry’s needs have changed, MROs are expanding their offerings to include more than just maintenance and repair, such as fleet management. Their close relationships to their customers allow them to provide cost effective, efficient and customized service as they quickly adapt to the needs of new aircraft models.

Original Equipment Manufacturers

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), are the goliaths in the A&D arena. Corporations like Boeing and Pratt & Whitney build & sell airplanes, tanks and rockets for end-users in the airline, military and space industries. OEMs have also expanded their offerings to include maintenance and repair, placing them in competition with the MROs. OEM’s embed advanced technology that tracks the health of their equipment. This intimate knowledge of their products allows them to refine maintenance timetables, reducing the need for unnecessary work.


Suppliers provide components for both new equipment and replacement parts, making them an invaluable asset to both OEMs and MROs. Efficiency measures across the industry have led OEMs and MROs to consolidate their suppliers, choosing those who can provide a multitude of products at a low cost. Suppliers who can quickly pivot towards a one-stop shopping experience are definitely gaining an edge over their competitors.

Three Segments, One Advantage

These A&D stakeholders may serve different roles in the industry, but they all have turned to one source to help them achieve maximum flexibility, increased efficiency, and reduced costs: 3D Printing. The ease and speed of 3D Printers allows designers to explore multiple prototype iterations at a low cost. Manufacturing those new designs is simple when custom tooling and fixtures get produced right on the shop floor. And broken parts get replaced in days, not weeks or months, thanks to strong Additive Manufacturing materials like metal and onyx. With 3D Printing in their tool kit, the Aerospace Industry is soaring to new heights.

Ready for Additive Manufacturing to lift-off your A&D business? Contact us today. There’s a form at the bottom of this page just waiting for you to fill it!