Additive manufacturing makes headway in aircraft production

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Airbus’ investigations into additive manufacturing processes started more than 20 years ago, first with plastics and a few years later with laser beam melting. However, a problem that still exists for the company is coming to additive manufacturing solutions with a solid business case, and how to start if almost every industrial decision is driven by business-case discussions.

“In February 2014, Airbus delivered the first printed FDM spare part to an airline after a two-year project with a 3D redesign of a 30-year-old manual drawing of a cabin-attendant seat part. It’s now a pure digital product, produced more or less on demand by Airbus itself instead of a 10-year inventory because of the press forming production with a 20-year-old “serial tool.”


“The first few-hundred flight test bracket FDM applications had been aboard the new A350 test aircraft beginning in 2014, and the first additively manufactured titanium Bionic cabin bracket produced using the LBM process and a new topology-optimized design method was flown on an A350 in June 2014 after two years of testing All these activities have been extremely useful for the future of additive manufacturing at Airbus, as they have demonstrated technical feasibility and future opportunities for real industrial usage of additive manufacturing from 2016 onwards.”



Categories: Aerospace