Airbus 3D prints more than 1000 parts for flagship aircraft

Aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, has 3D printed more than 1000 flight parts for use in the "first-of-type" A350 XWB aircraft.

The 3D printed parts, produced on Stratasys FDM 3D Production Systems, were used in place of traditionally manufactured parts to increase supply chain flexibility, enabling Airbus to meet its delivery commitment on-time.

Airbus initiated development and certification of 3D printing with Stratasys in 2013 as a schedule risk reduction activity that proved valuable for the A350 XWB program, according to a company statement.

The parts are 3D printed using ULTEM 9085 resin for FDM, which is certified to an Airbus material specification.

ULTEM 9085 resin provides high strength-to-weight ratio and is flame, smoke and toxicity compliant for aircraft interior applications.

This enables Airbus to manufacture strong, lighter weight parts, while substantially reducing production time and manufacturing costs.

Stratasys executive vice-president, business development, marketing and vertical Solutions, Dan Yalon, said the company was delighted that Stratasys additive manufacturing solutions were being adopted by Airbus for its flagship A350 XWB aircraft.

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"Both companies share a vision of applying innovative technologies to design and manufacturing to create game-changing benefits." he said.

"Our additive manufacturing solutions can produce complex parts on-demand, ensuring on time delivery while streamlining supply chains.

Yalon said additive manufacturing also greatly improved the buy-to-fly ratio as significantly less material was wasted than with conventional manufacturing methods.

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"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."

According to a company statement, leading companies in a variety of industries, from aerospace and automotive to consumer goods and medical, are partnering with Stratasys to adopt additive manufacturing strategies.

Stratasys additive manufacturing enables original and replacement parts to be digitally produced at the best suited locations, reducing both material waste and inventory requirements.

By adopting additive manufacturing throughout the product lifecycle, companies can therefore lower operational costs, accelerate time to market, decentralise production, and add new innovative product functionality.


Brian Karlovsky

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