Last year, Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company and no stranger to 3D printing, officially debuted the first 3D printed structural titanium components that were approved by the FAA for use in a commercial airplane, its 787 Dreamliner. The company even created a special Additive Manufacturing organization last year, which uses 3D printing to enable greater affordability, customization, quality, and speed-to-market innovation, so its customers can generate more value.Now the company, which currently has about 50,000 3D printed parts flying on commercial, defense, and space programs, has signed a five-year collaboration agreement with Swiss technology and engineering group Oerlikon in order to develop standard processes and materials for metal 3D printing.
“This program will drive the faster adoption of additive manufacturing in the rapidly growing aerospace, space and defence markets. Working together with Boeing will define the path in producing airworthy additive manufacturing components for serial manufacturing,” said Dr. Roland Fischer, CEO of the Oerlikon Group. “We see collaboration as a key enabler to unlocking the value that additive manufacturing can bring to aircraft platforms and look forward to partnering with Boeing.”
Oerlikon, which invested CHF 94 million in R&D in 2016, is one of the leading AM service providers, and offers a range of integrated services, from metal powder production and component design to manufacturing, post-processing, and quality inspection. The Swiss company has been sharpening its focus on 3D printing technology over the last couple of years, with expanded facilities and efforts with multiple partners to advance industrialization of AM.
Just a few months ago, Oerlikon agreed to collaborate with disruptive rocket propulsion startup LENA Space on developing 3D printed components for propulsion systems used in small launch vehicles that send payloads into low Earth orbit. But now, it’s coming back down to Earth to create standard processes for 3D printed structural titanium aerospace parts with Boeing, so that all kinds of aircraft can enjoy the many benefits offered by additive manufacturing.
“This agreement is an important step toward fully unlocking the value of powder bed titanium additive manufacturing for the aerospace industry. Boeing and Oerlikon will work together to standardize additive manufacturing operations from powder management to finished product and thus enable the development of a wide range of safe, reliable and cost-effective structural titanium aerospace components,” said Leo Christodoulou, Boeing Chief Technologist.
Oerlikon and Boeing will use the data from their five-year collaboration agreement to support the creation of standard titanium 3D printing processes, as well as the qualification of AM suppliers that will produce metallic components through several materials and machines.
The collaboration between the two companies will help aerospace and defense companies, according to an Oerlikon press release, “meet the current challenges to qualify materials and processes for aerospace,” along with developing a qualified supply chain so companies that choose to adopt the technology can achieve cost and quality targets.
The research will first focus on industrializing titanium powder bed fusion, as well as making sure that any parts made with the process will meet flight requirements of the FAA and the Department of Defense.
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.
You May Also Like
Markforged Releases Next Gen Metal 3D Printer and Ruggedized 3D Printer
Ahead of its upcoming SPAC merger with one, Markforged has announced new hardware and software releases. The firm says the new Metal X Gen 2, Next Day Metal, and X7...
Stratasys Lowers Barrier to Entry of Multi-Material 3D Printing with J35 Pro
Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) has been extensively building out its PolyJet line, delivering a series of new 3D printers for just about every vertical you can imagine. Now, the firm has...
Stratasys Releases J5 MediJet 3D Printer for Medical Applications
Stratasys is continuing with its application-specific technology strategy, a plan that Executive Editor Joris Peels has been enthusiastic about, while also warning about the potential drawbacks for some equipment. The...
3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: June 6, 2021
We’ve got another busy week of webinars and events, both live and online, to tell you about in this week’s roundup! Topics run the gamut from 3D printing aircraft cabin...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.