Of all the industries that the emergence of 3D printing technology has had an immediate impact on, the aerospace business seems to be actualizing the full potential of these benefits. To find proof of this, one need not look further than Boeing, the premier American aerospace company that has not only utilized additive manufacturing for their production process, but has also worked towards developing their own specialized forms of 3D printing technology.
Over this year alone, the Chicago, Illinois-headquartered aerospace company has filed a couple of patents entailing new additive manufacturing techniques. One of these filed patents showcased a magnetically-charged 3D printer that creates levitating objects, while the other patent aims to produce 3D printed artificial ice, which Boeing hopes will ease the aircraft certification process. In the past, the company also integrated over 20,000 3D printed components into their F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft, helping to put themselves on the frontline of manufacturing innovation.
Their use of 3D printing technology might be a relatively new venture, but as far as innovation goes, Boeing has been at it for a long time, 100 years to be exact. Last Friday, the aerospace company gathered in Seattle, Washington, the city in which they were founded on July 15, 1916, to celebrate their centennial year. During the ceremony, the President and CEO of Boeing, Dennis Muilenburg, took to the stage to praise the company’s long-standing progress, as well as the innovative plans for the upcoming century.Unsurprisingly, a large part of the future that Muilenburg discussed involved 3D printing technology, which he lumped together with automation and second-century design manufacturing as the primary tools to “sharpen and accelerate” the company’s innovation in their factory and services. In addition, the CEO also laid out some pretty outlandish goals for the future, both of which would only seem viable coming from a pioneering and innovative company like Boeing. The first ambitious project aims to achieve supersonic commercial flights, which would essentially consist of their aircrafts breaking the speed of sound. Secondly, and most impressive to me, is their plan to create a rocket that will be able to carry human beings to Mars and other planets. As for the present moment, Boeing is pressing for licenses to complete the sale of 109 aircrafts to Iran, including leased jets, but the deal has received backlash from select members of the US government.
In addition, Boeing also announced plans to create a “middle of the market” aircraft, which would land somewhere between the 737 and 787 on their product line. This project has the potential to heavily involve 3D printing technology, as Boeing claims that they could use existing products or derivatives of existing products to create the new aircraft. Aside from the keynote given by Muilenburg, the celebratory weekend also included an array of events for the crowd of about 100,000 employees, families, and Boeing retirees. All in all, with a backlog of 5,700 plane orders, innovative additive manufacturing patents on the horizon, and ambitious plans for the next 100 years of business, Boeing appears to be stronger now than ever before. Let’s discuss further over in the Boeing to Focus on 3D Printing forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: Reuters]