The Transformative Capabilities of 3D Printing in Aerospace
Aerospace engineers use Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Technology for prototyping, tooling and manufacturing. FDM can be used to build jigs, fixtures, check gauges and end-use parts in this industry.
Stratasys also offers PolyJet 3D printing for more precise prototyping that includes rigid, rubberlike and clear materials.
The aerospace industry has been at the forefront of embracing 3D printing and additive manufacturing, making it a trailblazer in the widespread use and application of these cutting-edge technologies. Due to its unique low-volume, high-mix production profile, aerospace is a very appropriate fit for additive manufacturing.
What sets Stratasys apart from other 3D printing providers is its comprehensive ecosystem of solutions, encompassing printers, materials, and contract part services. This all-encompassing approach allows Stratasys to cater to various prospects, even offering the option to experience additive manufacturing benefits through parts provided by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing.
3D Printing in Aerospace Industry: Manufacturing Applications
Additive manufacturing finds extensive use in various aerospace applications, broadly categorized into three key stages of production:
3D Printing for Development and Prototyping
This phase involves the development of product concepts and prototypes using additive manufacturing in aerospace engineering.
Additive Manufacturing for Aircraft Parts
Encompassing the process of manufacturing aircraft, sub-assemblies, and parts, including the use of diverse tooling and manufacturing aids.
The Production of Components for Aerospace
Focused on producing components that become integral parts of the aircraft, incorporating the advantages of 3D printing in the aerospace industry.
Benefits of 3D Printing in Aerospace
Additive manufacturing plays a pivotal role in addressing critical challenges faced by the aerospace industry, offering numerous advantages.
Sustainability and Energy Conservation
3D printing enables the production of lighter parts by utilizing lightweight materials, such as polymers instead of metals. Optimized design methods, like generative and topological approaches, further contribute to reducing overall weight, resulting in lower fuel consumption for flight vehicles.
Spare Part Availability
Legacy aircraft programs, both in commercial and defense sectors, face increased costs as parts become obsolete and replacements are sought. Aerospace additive manufacturing services offer an efficient solution by enabling on-demand production of parts, eliminating the need for excessive inventory and addressing long-term use concerns.
Speed of Innovation and Production
The aviation and defense industry has faced challenges in meeting projected timelines. The benefits of 3D printing in aerospace play a vital role in streamlining development programs, reducing cycle times, and accelerating time-to-market for new products.
Durable and Lightweight Materials
Stratasys materials cater to a diverse range of aerospace application requirements. Engineering thermoplastics and carbon-filled materials address prototyping and strong tooling needs, while high-performance polymers like ULTEM™ resins meet rigorous physical and mechanical criteria for flight-worthy components. Antero 840CN03 fulfills specific low-outgassing and electrostatic dissipative requirements crucial for spacecraft.
Empowering Aerospace Manufacturing with Stratasys 3D Printers
Stratasys boasts a remarkable track record of manufacturing over 24 million parts in-house. The company is qualified to produce parts adhering to 26 Material Specifications and 46 Process Specifications, maintaining ISO9001 and AS9100 compliance for stringent quality control. Stratasys continues to lead the way in additive manufacturing innovations, making a lasting impact on the aerospace industry.