Airbus Produces Aircraft with 1000 3D Printed Parts in Partnership with Stratasys

Top aircraft manufacturer Airbus has partnered with Stratasys, a global manufacturing leader in 3D printing and additives, to manufacture more than 1000 flight parts for its A350 XWB aircraft in 2014.

© Airbus S.A.S 2014 - photo by master films / P. Pigeyre

The 3D printed parts are much lighter than their conventional counterparts, decreasing manufacturing time and costs.

Replacing conventional components with 3D printed ones also enhanced flexibility in the supply chain, enabling the company to achieve its delivery targets.

In 2013, Stratasys partnered with Airbus for the development and certification of 3D printing as part of Airbus’ schedule risk reduction operation.

This operation in turn was very helpful for the A350 XWB project, and went on to prove the advantages of using 3D printing in the manufacturing sector.

The 3D printed parts of the A350 XWB were produced using ULTEM™ 9085 resin with Stratasys FDM 3D production systems.

The ULTEM material is certified to Airbus specifications. The resin provides beneficial features for aircraft interior applications such as flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST) compliance and high strength-to-weight ratio.

This ensures that the 3D printed parts manufactured by Airbus were not only sturdy but also much lighter, and also greatly decreases manufacturing time and cost.

© Airbus S.A.S 2014 - photo by master films / H. Goussé

Dan Yalon, Executive Vice President, Business Development, Marketing & Vertical Solutions for Stratasys:

"We are delighted that Stratasys additive manufacturing solutions are being adopted by Airbus for its flagship A350 XWB aircraft. Both companies share a vision of applying innovative technologies to design and manufacturing to create game-changing benefits."

"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."

Stratasys is involved in several partnerships, which all aim to implement additive manufacturing methods with companies across numerous sectors such as aerospace, medical, consumer goods and automotive.

Their additive manufacturing technology enable any kind of parts to be manufactured digitally at any suitable site, thus minimizing inventory needs and material wastage - without reducing the performance or viability of the final product.

The highlights of the using additive manufacturing for the entire product lifecycle include adding advanced product functionality, reducing of operational costs, swift delivery to market, and decentralized production.

Read more 3D Printing news

Will Soutter

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Will Soutter

Will has a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Durham, and a M.Sc. in Green Chemistry from the University of York. Naturally, Will is our resident Chemistry expert but, a love of science and the internet makes Will the all-rounder of the team. In his spare time Will likes to play the drums, cook and brew cider.

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