Metal additive manufacturing growth calls for new crop of professionals

Thursday, SME announced the release of a new report, “Experts in Demand: Growth in Metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) Creates Need for Professionals” at SME’s RAPID + TCT event in Fort Worth, Texas.

SME’s report shows the nation’s additive industry grew 21 percent in 2017, as the industry expanded by more than 1.25 billion, creating new products and geometrics that haven’t been done before. The growth in Metal Additive Manufacturing has experienced significant growth in the last year, with an 80% increase in metal AM hardware systems sold in 2017 compared with AM systems sold in 2016.

Metal AM is not only allowing manufacturers to increase speed to market, it’s also helping them produce stronger and lighter parts, improve efficiency, reduce waste, along with reducing lead time. To maximize this potential, it is critical that the existing workforce is trained in AM technologies – whether through degree programs, engineering applications, development experience or AM experience in a project-based environment.

To meet the current and future needs of the AM metals industry, SME’s Additive Manufacturing Community advisors created a Competency Model with in-demand job descriptions for metal AM positions, along with the knowledge, skills and abilities for the roles/functions that make up the metal additive manufacturing team.

The Competency Model helps with the development of job descriptions that can be tailored to specific industries and applications as well as curriculums and job-training programs, and is part of the process for ensuring consistency for engineers and technologists pursuing careers in metal AM.

Companies are hiring mechanical and materials engineers with a specialized background in AM processes and material science, AM application and design engineers that can understand customer needs and leverage the AM design and manufacturing space effectively; manufacturing engineers with a new mindset regarding the AM manufacturing deployment and supply chain logistics.

SME’s white paper is available online HERE.