By Eric Doremus | Applications Engineer
"Historically, the use of 3D printed parts have been in military aircraft rather than commercial passenger jets" said James Woodcock, 3D printing expert with Rapid News.
However, when a tight deadline was placed, Airbus decided to use new materials available from Stratasys FDM 3D Printing to produce over 1,000 end-use parts that will be used in the Airbus A350 XWB jet. The parts were produced with Ultem 9085 filament which is certified to an Airbus material specification.
By 3D printing the parts instead of using traditional manufacturing methods, Airbus was able to cut production time, costs and even the total weight of the aircraft.
By using advanced Stratasys 3D processing software, Insight, Airbus was able to modify the internal structures of the 3D printed parts to optimize the strength to weight ratio, which is crucial in aircraft design. Ultem 9085 is also FST (flame, smoke and toxicity) compliant for aircraft interior applications which allows end-use parts to be 3D printed and used in the aviation industry.
Image: Ultem 9085 Air Duct Vent
“Both companies share a vision of applying innovative technologies to design and manufacturing to create game-changing benefits,” said Dan Yalon, Executive Vice President, Business Development, Marketing & Vertical Solutions for Stratasys. “Our additive manufacturing solutions can produce complex parts on-demand, ensuring on time delivery while streamlining supply chains. Additive manufacturing also greatly improves the buy-to-fly ratio as significantly less material is wasted than with conventional manufacturing methods. 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.”