May 6, 2015 | By Alec

Over the last few months we’ve seen a number of interesting examples proving that 3D printers are now finally being used to manufacture actual parts for aviation and aerospace industries – just look at these 3D printed parts for a test rocket. But a new statement by Stratasys should deal with anyone arguing that 3D printers will never play a huge role in high tech industries. For they have just revealed that they have manufactured more than a thousand parts for the new Airbus A350 XWB jet in December 2014.

The Airbus A350 XWB commercial airplane is the latest model in the family of Airbus aircraft, it was already announced more than a year ago that Airbus would use 3D printing technology for some of the parts for the new A350 XWB and the in-service jetliners such as the A300/A310 family. All components, which were mostly lightweight flight parts, were delivered in time and were manufactured by Stratasys under the supervision of Airbus. It is believed that this is a new record in the number of 3D printed parts included in a single airplane.

‘We are on the cusp of a step-change in weight reduction and efficiency – producing aircraft parts which weight 30 to 55 percent less, while reducing raw material used by 90 percent,” Peter Sander, head of emerging technologies and concepts at Airbus, said when announcing the use of 3D printing technology. ‘This game-changing technology also decreases total energy used in production by up to 90 percent compared to traditional methods.’ And as Stratasys told reporters that 3D printing had enabled the parts to be made quicker and cheaper than when using conventional production methods, they evidently delivered.

The parts in question were 3D printed using ULTEM™ 9085 resin, which is certified as an Airbus material. ULTEM 9085 resin is especially suitable for applications in the interior of aircraft, as it has a high strength-to-weight ratio and is FST (flame, smoke, and toxicity) compliant for safety regulations. In a nutshell, this means strong, lightweight parts.

‘We are delighted that Stratasys additive manufacturing solutions are being adopted by Airbus for its flagship A350 XWB aircraft. Both companies share a vision of applying innovative technologies to design and manufacturing to create game-changing benefits,’ Dan Yalon, who is Executive Vice President, Business Development, Marketing & Vertical Solutions for Stratasys, told reporters. ‘Our additive manufacturing solutions can produce complex parts on-demand, ensuring on time delivery while streamlining supply chains. Additive manufacturing also greatly improves the buy-to-fly ratio as significantly less material is wasted than with conventional manufacturing methods. Stratasys is looking forward to bringing these and other advantages to its collaboration with Airbus and to being part of Airbus’ Factory of the Future initiative.’

It will be very interesting to see if similar commercial applications of 3D printing technology will be made for aviation industries, as that is something that has hitherto been unusual. Who knows? We might all be sitting on 3D printed seats and eating off 3D printed trays in airplanes in the near future. 


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Babaloey wrote at 5/7/2015 3:49:30 AM:

But I thought Stratasys was just some evil corporation bent on destroying all the open source FFF printers. You mean they did something kinda cool for the Additive Mfg industry?

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