The International Paris Air Show at the Exhibition Center of Le Bourget is currently in full swing, and runs through this Sunday the 25th. A lot of big names will be exhibiting at the Air Show this week, including Norsk Titanium with a mock-up of its Merke IV Rapid Plasma Deposition machine, Sciaky with its EBAM technology, and Prodways Group will be introducing its new Rapid Additive Forging metal 3D printing technology. Stratasys is also attending the Air Show, and will be offering an extensive look into additive manufacturing applications in aerospace.
Stratasys is well-versed in offering 3D printing solutions to the aerospace sector, as showcased through a new technical partnership with Boom Supersonic announced just ahead of the Air Show. Today, the company has introduced a new aerospace 3D printing solution that’s based on its powerful FDM Fortus 900mc Production 3D printer. The Fortus 900mc Aircraft Interiors Certification Solution will help facilitate the production of aircraft interior parts that are able to meet exacting FAA and EASA certification requirements.
“Until now, the process of achieving FAA certification for 3D printing has been limiting the adoption of additive manufacturing in aviation. There have been limited specialized solutions and statistical datasets available to support this complex process,” said Scott Sevcik, Head of Aerospace, Defense and Automotive Solutions, Stratasys. “With the new Stratasys Fortus 900mc Aircraft Interiors Certification Solution, we are removing major obstacles and making it much easier to 3D print airworthy parts, improving repeatability and performance.”
3D printing technology is optimal for the multi-billion dollar aircraft interior parts sector, due to the technology’s ability to produce parts that have consistent quality and repeatable characteristics. 3D printing is capable of making complex assemblies as a single component, which makes the supply chain more efficient as it cuts down on material, money, and time; this allows for on-demand production of certified parts, which can reduce the substantial existing inventories of spare parts and allow airlines and the Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) segment to get rid of inventory obsolescence.
According to “3D Opportunity in Aerospace and Defense,” a 2014 report put out by the Deloitte University Press, “Additive Manufacturing (AM) providers need to improve existing systems to be able to consistently deliver high-quality parts; only then will AM likely reach its full potential in the A&D industry.”
Once the new process by Stratasys is qualified for making 3D printed interior parts, manufacturers will be able to differentiate passenger experience with unique, low-volume elements that have been customized to end-customer needs and styles. Additionally, the company’s new solution will make it possible to design lightweight aircraft interior components that feature highly repeatable mechanical properties.
The new Fortus 900mc Aircraft Interiors Certification Solution is currently undergoing a qualification program, under FAA oversight, at the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance (NCAMP), which is part of Wichita State University’s National Institute of Aviation Research (NIAR), an extensive center offering advanced technologies for aerospace. The solution, which includes specialized software and hardware specifically for 3D printing aircraft parts, consists of strong, lightweight ULTEM 9085 thermoplastic resin, which meets aerospace flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST) regulations (FAR 25.863), and a new edition of the Fortus 900mc 3D printer.
Stratasys’ new Fortus 900mc Aircraft Interiors Certification Solution offers material and process traceability, in order to meet compliance with major global airworthiness regulations. The company will help its customers qualify the new solution for equivalency with the NCAMP statistical dataset, leveraging this breakthrough qualification to remove the complexity from gaining EASA and FAA certification and helping aerospace organizations quickly get more parts flight-certified.
“NIAR has been commissioned to develop the framework that would include polymer additive manufacturing under the NCAMP umbrella. And we have partnered with Stratasys to be the first material for this new process for NCAMP. The first part that you make has to be equivalent to the hundredth part, to the thousandth part, to the part you make ten years from now in order to be good enough to be certified for the FAA. And that’s what’s so powerful about the NCAMP process,” explained Paul Jonas, Director Technology Development, Special Programs, Wichita State University, NIAR.
The qualification test program for the new Stratasys solution is currently underway, and should be completed by September 2017; publication of the final NCAMP qualification report will follow. The solution is now available for pre-orders, but will be widely released following the conclusion of the qualification test program. To learn more, visit Stratasys this week at the International Paris Air Show in Hall 4, Stand #C208. Discuss in the Stratasys forum at 3DPB.com.