Jun 9, 2016 | By Alec

Over the past few years, aviation giant Airbus Group has emerged as one of the biggest users of industrial 3D printing. They have already 3D printed a wide range of aircraft parts, including a 3D printed titanium fuselage and engine pylon components for commercial aircraft. Just last week, they even unveiled the Thor, an 4-meter long 3D printed UAV. Those innovations have, in part, been made possible by a collaboration with French 3D design pioneers Dassault Systèmes, through which they were able to use their integrated 3DEXPERIENCE 3D printing platform. Airbus has just revealed that their experiences with 3DEXPERIENCE over the past two years were so positive, that they’re extending their 3D printing collaboration with Dassault Systèmes.

Dassault Systèmes, of course, is one biggest providers of 3D design software, 3D Digital Mock Up tools and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions in the world. For regular 3D printing hobbyists, the French developers are probably most famous as the makers of SolidWorks design software. But they also provide a variety of other platforms to industrial partners, such as the 3DEXPERIENCE platform which Airbus has been benchmarking extensively over the past two years. Among others, it provides integrated design, simulation and production tools that have been designed for professional environments.

As part of this extended collaboration, Airbus Group will deploy Dassault Systèmes’ collaborative design and simulation applications in their “Co-Design to Target” platform. Through it, they will 3D print tools, prototypes and parts for test flights, as well as set up 3D printing part production for commercial aircraft. It should, the French developers say, provide Airbus with digital continuity while conceptual designs are validated at each step of the 3D printing production process. “Leveraging Dassault Systèmes’ applications and its own leadership and engineering expertise in additive manufacturing, Airbus Group can explore greater design and manufacturing possibilities to meet engineering and manufacturing requirements for the additive manufacturing of tools and parts,” they say.

This makes the platform an excellent tool for expanding the use of 3D printing in industrial environments. Already being occasionally used as a creative alternative to milling, melting and casting in the aerospace industry, Airbus is eager to transform 3D printing into a large-scale production tool. Their “Co-Design to Target” 3D printing platform should enable Airbus engineers to design, 3D print and test parts with unprecedented levels of flexibility. Hopefully, this will reduce waste and increase efficiency without sacrificing on part strength or performance.

According to Robert Nardini, Airbus Senior Vice President Engineering Airframe, the benefits of Dassault Systèmes’ tools were seen throughout their many 3D printing projects. “Numerous projects across Airbus are accelerating the use of additive manufacturing to produce prototypes as well as production components potentially delivering lighter and less expensive parts that meet technological, performance, safety and cost standards,” he said. “Airbus has long used Dassault Systèmes’ simulation applications to accelerate the structural analysis and virtual testing of aircraft and now we can define a new way of designing parts by leveraging simulation-based design to better answer aviation market needs.”

Dassault Systèmes, for their part, is keen to provide new manufacturing solutions for the aerospace industry. According to their Senior Executive Vice President of the R&D department Dominique Florack, they have seen that their platform is enabling engineers to develop designs that were heretofore impossible to fabricate. “With this approach, Airbus Group will be able to take advantage of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s next generation automated design assistant for parts, whether they are 3D printed or not, thus accelerating a new wave of transformation in the aerospace industry. With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform we are delivering an end to end solution including all engineering parameters for the additive manufacturing of parts inclusive of material science, functional specification, generative design, 3D printing optimization, production and certification,’ Florack said.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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