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Industry Remains Strong Amid Controversy, Anticipated Changes

Mark L. Michalski
By Mark L. Michalski 2019 SME President, SME Member Since 1992

Deloitte predicts the A&D industry will continue its growth trajectory in 2019, led by growing commercial aircraft production and strong defense spending. Reuters reported in mid-June that the “$150-billion-a-year commercial aircraft industry is entering a slowdown due to global pressures from trade tensions to flagging economies.” Boeing has pledged it will learn from the major issues with its 737 MAX. And United Technologies is buying Raytheon.

I think it’s safe to say 2019 has already been a noteworthy year, with the anticipation of more changes to come.

While the industry continues to evolve and react to its circumstances, SME Media’s Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing 2019 offers you a comprehensive industry outlook, as well as expert opinions on the technologies shaping its future growth.

We will begin with the “Five Trends to Watch for This Year” by John Kenkel, VP of aerospace and defense at Cyient. Kenkel shares his thoughts on how the greater traffic demands in the Asia-Pacific region have led to an increase in demand for airplane deliveries. He also discusses how the industry will see an increased pushed toward the adoption of digital innovation, particularly with new technologies like robotics/autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing and sensor technologies.

Kenkel’s trends article is followed by in-depth features and guest columns, including:

  • Lockheed Martin’s Robert Ghobrial writing on cognitive assistants and how they will transform our world.
  • A look at a new noncontact scanner from Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence — Absolute Distance Meter (ADM) — that bridges the gap between terrestrial laser scanners and metrology-grade solutions.
  • A behind-the-scenes view at Airbus Helicopters’ first H135 final assembly line in Qingdao, China.
  • An exploration by Lockheed for a different kind of space for NASA. It involves custom sheet-metal parts that solve storage-space limitations — in space — for the voyage to Mars.
  • A detailed interview with George Barnych of B3 Technical Services on how a demo project at the University of New Hampshire addresses the promises of automation and IoT adoption.
  • In a recent PrecisionPath Consortium report, the challenges and vision are defined for the future of metrology.

Auburn University shares how it came to partner with NASA to form the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence (NCAME) at Auburn.

I hope you enjoy these articles and guest columns and the many others available in this issue. If you would like to continue your learning experience, I invite you to consider attending one or more of these upcoming events:

  • WESTEC 2019 ( — Sept. 24-26, Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, Calif. — will offer keynotes by Tom Wujec, an Autodesk fellow and an adjunct professor at Singularity University; Brian Beaulieu, CEO, ITR; and Fredi Lajvardi, vice president of STEM Initiatives at the Si Se Puede Foundation.

  • SOUTH-TEC 2019 ( will be held Oct. 22-24 at the Greenville Convention Center in Greenville, S.C. A new one-day seminar, “Additive Manufacturing Seminar – Additive Manufacturing Applications,” offers attendees advice from leading additive manufacturing experts who have implemented additive into their own operations.

  • AeroDef Manufacturing Conference and Exposition ( — More than 2,600 global industry professionals attended AeroDef Manufacturing 2019 in Long Beach, Calif. 73% of those attendees influence the purchasing decisions of their companies and more than a third have budgets exceeding $500,000. In 2020, AeroDef returns March 16-19 to the Fort Worth (Texas) Convention Center.

For a complete list of events and/or additional A&D resources, please visit As always, thank you for being part of the SME community.

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