The 54th edition of the Paris Air Show brought together innovative companies worldwide to display the latest aerospace technology. Against the backdrop of a wide array of technological marvels, additive manufacturing (AM) has made its presence felt, demonstrating its role in contributing to advancements in the aerospace sector. The fusion of this innovative manufacturing technology with aeronautics is set to usher in an era of lighter, safer, and more efficient aircraft.
Running from June 19 to 25, 2023, the Le Bourget Parc des Expositions event welcomed more than 300,000 attendees. Aside from some top highlights, including impressive flight displays from electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, Boeing’s unveiling of the highly anticipated 777X and roughly $150 billion worth of contracts signed during the event, companies such as Roboze, CRP Technology, Boom Supersonic, and the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute, among others, showcased how 3D printing is revolutionizing their processes and products, offering fascinating insights into the future of the aerospace industry.
Roboze, an Italian-headquartered provider of 3D printing technology for advanced super polymers and composites, made a significant announcement at the Paris Air Show. In collaboration with Magnaghi Aeronautica Group, a leader in landing systems, composite wings, and moveable control surfaces, the company signed a new deal to advance AM in the aeronautical sector.
AM has long enabled the design and production of lightweight, intricate aircraft components while maintaining safety. To date, polymer 3D printing has primarily been used for interior components. However, through the Roboze and Magnaghi partnership, this is changing. The collaboration aims to extend these applications to Class 2 and 3 landing gear components.
In addition, the partnership promises to accelerate the certification of production processes, establishing a new standard for the approach to manufacturing and qualification of 3D printing technology in the aviation industry.
Paolo Graziano, CEO of Magnaghi, and Alessio Lorusso, Founder and CEO of Roboze, jointly expressed their enthusiasm for the partnership. They acknowledged Magnaghi’s historical expertise in aeronautics and Roboze’s proficiency in 3D printing technology and materials science and stated their conviction that their collaboration will significantly accelerate the adoption of AM in the aeronautical sector. The partnership aims to expedite the validation of new applications and the development of innovative materials, thus amplifying the benefits of the technology in Europe and globally.
Italian firm CRP Technology, renowned for its Windform range of composite materials for industrial 3D printing, shared its booth with partner company ITT Inc. and its brands at the Paris Air Show. The exhibition featured advanced 3D printed parts for aerospace applications, offering attendees insights into how the Windform composite materials, originally developed for the motorsports industry, are now being employed in space exploration applications.
Furthermore, the company showcased functional prototypes of flight-ready parts used in various in-flight operational experiences and space missions, including the retaining ring, stator, CubeSat, and TuPOD, demonstrating how their solutions are contributing to important technological advancements in aerostructures and small satellites. Notably, TuPOD, a unique 3U CubeSat and dispensing system for two tube satellites, has gained significant recognition as the first fully 3D printed satellite deployer launched from the International Space Station (ISS).
Boom Supersonic, the company behind Overture – the world’s fastest airliner to be unveiled in 2025 – announced significant advancements in its aircraft and engine programs at the show. The company revealed its structural supplier agreements with Aernnova, Leonardo, and Aciturri, each providing different parts for Overture, and also unveiled the aircraft’s systems configuration.
In another significant development, Boom shared the engine architecture for Symphony, Overture’s propulsion system optimized for 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). A 3D printed ⅓ scale design model of the engine was also revealed, underscoring the vital role of AM in what could someday become a game-changing aerospace project.
Aerospace Technology Institute
At the Paris Air Show, the Aerospace Technology Institute introduced ten innovative UK organizations showcasing breakthroughs in aerospace technology. Among these, four AM companies – Adaptix, Ai Build, Progressive Technology Group, and WAAM3D – showcased their unique contributions to the field.
Adaptix exhibited its portable, in-situ 3D X-ray technology that combines high-resolution imaging with the ease of use of ultrasonics. Ai Build turned heads with its AiSync software, automating the generation of production-ready 3D print files for a more efficient and predictable AM process. The Progressive Technology Group demonstrated its proficiency in precision parts production, combining multi-axis machining and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques. Lastly, WAAM3D highlighted its complete solution for AM through a Wire Arc AM (WAAM) ecosystem, catering to diverse materials and reducing costs and lead times.
“Aerospace is a key sector that stands the most to gain from large-format additive manufacturing. Because of this, we are thrilled to join the ATI at the Paris Air show, be part of the discussion and illustrate how that potential can be unlocked,” says Guy Brown, Head of R&D at Ai Build
Additionally, companies such as Trumpf, Oerlikon, and Velo3D displayed their own AM technologies, materials, and 3D printed parts at their booths during the show, further emphasizing the broad scope and varied applications of 3D printing in aerospace.
The 2023 Paris Air Show emphasized the growing significance of 3D printing in aerospace, a technology capable of broadening design possibilities, trimming costs, and accelerating production times. As the showcased companies persist in pursuing innovation and the integration of additive manufacturing, a future is taking shape where aerospace is increasingly lightweight, safe, and efficient.
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