14 March 2014

Small brackets manufactured in one day for A350 XWB

Airbus is expanding use of 3-D printing (additive layer manufacturing) technology to manufacture parts for the company's line of aircraft. This cost-effective technology -additive layer manufacturing- “grows” products from a fine base material powder – such as aluminum, titanium, stainless steel and plastics – by adding thin layers of material in incremental stages, which enables complex components to be produced directly from computer-aided design information.

Parts produced with this method are beginning to appear on the A350 XWB and also on other in-service aircraft of the A300/A310 Family. The 3-D printing results in lighter parts, shorter lead times, fewer materials used during production and a significant reduction in the manufacturing process’ environmental footprint.

“We are on the cusp of a step-change in weight reduction and efficiency – producing aircraft parts which weight 30 to 55% less, while reducing raw material used by 90%,” says Peter Sander of Airbus. “This game-changing technology also decreases total energy used in production by up to 90% compared to traditional methods.”

For the A350 XWB aircraft, Airbus has already produced a variety of plastic and metal brackets, which material and structural properties have been tested and validated, and are now incorporated on the certification test prototypes.

Sander said the lead time for such a part can be as little as one day, if the component is based on an existing design, while redesigned parts can be produced in less than two weeks.

Airbus and China’s North Western Polytechnical University (NPU) have signed a cooperation agreement on exploring ways to further apply 3D printing technology. NPU will manufacture test specimens of titanium alloy parts for Airbus using its Laser Solid Forming technology. The specimens will be manufactured according to Airbus specifications and will be measured and assessed by Airbus.

Based on the article “Airbus expands use of additive manufacturing” published in CompositesWorld.

No comments:

Post a Comment