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Experts In Demand: Growth in Metal AM Creates Need for Professionals


The additive manufacturing industry grew 21% in 2017, as the industry expanded by more than $1.25 billion, creating new products and geometries that haven’t been done before, according to the Wohlers Report 2018. 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, according to the Report.

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.


  • Wohlers Associates, Wohlers Report 2018
  • SmarTech Publishing. “Markets for Precious Metals in Additive Manufacturing: 2018-2028”
  • Jackson, Beau. “BMW Invests e10 Million in German Additive Manufacturing Campus,” 3D Printing Industry, April 16, 2018
  • Wright, Tim. “Legal Issues in Additive Manufacturing Technology – Peeling Back the Layers,” SourcingSpeak, Nov. 13, 2017

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