From June 19 to 25, visitors and exhibitors from the aviation industry will gather in Paris for the International Paris Air Show. Among those exhibitors will be Stratasys, which knows a thing or two about aviation. The company’s 3D printing systems were recently used to create the first certified fully 3D printed part in the Middle East, a plastic monitor frame produced through a collaboration between Siemens, Etihad Airways and Strata Manufacturing.
At the air show, Stratasys will present additive manufacturing solutions for the production of FAA- and EASA-certified parts. It’s not the first time the company has taken a spotlight role at the conference; they’ve been involved in 3D printing for aviation for quite some time. Lately, their involvement has gotten even more comprehensive, and they’ll be talking about some of the partnerships that have furthered their presence in the industry, such as that with SIAEC, or SIA Engineering Company. The partnership was recently announced as a means of establishing an Additive Manufacturing Center in Singapore, as well as accelerating the adoption of 3D printing by the aviation industry.
Not that the aviation industry hasn’t been embracing 3D printing – quite the opposite, actually. Airbus, another Stratasys partner, has been one of the biggest champions of the technology in the industry, and has been exploring 3D printing for everything from dividing walls to hydraulic components to entire 3D printed airplanes. Stratasys’ ULTEM 9085 resin has become recently certified to Airbus material specifications, with a high strength-to-weight ratio and FST (flame, smoke and toxicity) requirements.
It’s not just Airbus that has been embracing 3D printing, either. We’ve heard a lot this year from GE Aviation, which is using the technology to manufacture aircraft engines, and which recently opened a new Brilliant Factory with 3D printing capabilities in Muskegon, Michigan. Brilliant Factories are centers for advanced manufacturing, which GE has continued to invest in; the establishment of GE Additive is only one of the ways in which the corporation has been dedicating itself to technology such as 3D printing.
Then there’s Boeing, which has also been exploring 3D printing technology for a long time in novel applications extending from artificial ice to streamline the aircraft certification process to 3D printed satellite components – not to mention thousands of 3D printed parts on their aircraft, as well. Boeing recently ordered the first-ever 3D printed titanium structural components for a commercial airplane, to be produced by Norsk Titanium.
So why is 3D printing becoming so popular within the aircraft industry? There are several reasons. 3D printing allows for the production of complex assemblies as a single component, reducing the amount of money, material, and time required to build them. It also allows for on-demand production of parts, reducing inventories and allowing for production at locations optimized for delivery to assembly lines. Stratasys will be discussing these advantages at the Paris Air Show, as well as making announcements alongside leading aerospace manufacturers.
If you’d like to learn in person how Stratasys’ technology is impacting the aviation industry, you can visit their booth in Hall 4, Stand C208 at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Parc des Expositions. Discuss in the Stratasys forum at 3DPB.com.