Feb 20, 2018 | By Tess

Aerospace giant Boeing has entered into a five-year partnership with Swiss technology group Oerlikon for the development and standardization of metal 3D printing processes and materials. The collaboration will seek to advance additive manufacturing for the production of structural titanium aerospace parts.

(Image: Boeing)

In a press release about the partnership, Leo Christodoulou, Boeing Chief Technologist, explains that the companies will work together to establish standards for the entire additive manufacturing process, from powder management to the end product. The ultimate goal is to “enable the development of a wide range of safe, reliable, and cost-effective structural titanium aerospace components,” he says.

Within the aerospace industry, Boeing has been a pioneer in additive manufacturing, having first started exploring the technology in 1997. At present, the company says it has around 50,000 3D printed parts installed on commercial, space, and defense aircraft. Evidently, the company hopes to further its adoption of 3D printing, and especially titanium-based additive manufacturing, through its collaboration with Oerlikon.

“This program will drive the faster adoption of additive manufacturing in the rapidly growing aerospace, space and defence markets,” said Dr. Roland Fischer, CEO Oerlikon Group. “Working together with Boeing will define the path in producing airworthy additive manufacturing components for serial manufacturing. We see collaboration as a key enabler to unlocking the value that additive manufacturing can bring to aircraft platforms and look forward to partnering with Boeing.”

Together, Boeing and Oerlikon will gather data in order to establish qualification processes for additive manufacturing suppliers. The first stage of the partnership will specifically be focused on industrializing titanium powder bed fusion 3D printing with the goal of producing parts that meet the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense flight requirements.

3D printed titanium components for Boeing 787 aircraft made with Norsk Titanium's MERKE IV 3D printer

The companies say their combined efforts will help companies and AM suppliers overcome the challenge of qualifying 3D printed parts for aerospace applications and will thus open up the doors for further 3D printing adoption in the sector.

Last year, Boeing made headlines for becoming the first aircraft manufacturer to install a 3D printed structural titanium part (approved by the Federal Aviation Administration) into a commercial aircraft. The part, 3D printed in collaboration with Norsk Titanium, was built into a 787 Dreamliner airplane.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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