providing welcome boost to
A panel session at the Formnext Connect online event discussed whether additive
manufacturing is giving a boost to aerospace, how it is being used and what benefi ts it
is providing to the industry
Manufacturers from across the aerospace industry
are increasingly utilising additive manufacturing
(AM) and in a session during the Formnext
Connect online conference, panellists from companies at
the forefront of using the technology discussed how it is
being used instead of traditional techniques.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March
last year, the number of aircraft ying has fallen
signi cantly as air travel demand has dropped, while CO2
and climate change are more relevant factors and there
are stricter safety regulations and a long certi cation
process – all of which could slow down the advantages
that AM brings to the table.
The panel heard though that the technology offers
possibilities perfectly suited for aerospace manufacturing,
as the industry is focused on small quantity parts and
components, high production costs and, seeks anyway it
can increase operational ef ciency and reduce weight.
By using AM, it is possible that manufacturers can
save vital storage space, time on-ground development
time and costs and help overcome challenges.
Session panellist Hauke Schultz, AM roadmap leader
at Airbus ( www.is.gd/Xvnnih ), explains the use of 3D
printing has continued at pace during the crisis and is
playing an “ever more important role”.
This he says comes despite the signi cant impact that
the pandemic has had across the company, due to
aircraft being grounded and production assembly lines
slowing. “AM is still a very suitable tool for aerospace
and we keep running production and we keep investing in
it through our research & development. It is providing a
boost for Airbus,” says Schultz.
“The crisis has shown a lot of bene ts that AM brings,
as it is clearly exible technology so when we have supply
chain disruption, like when we have missing parts in our
assembly lines – AM can often jump in and supply these
parts that we really need.”
Schultz notes that in the maintenance of aircraft,
Airbus has identi ed spares and after parts as a key part
of AM and it has supplied manufactured a four-digit
number of parts to its customers across the globe.
The use is ever-growing for Airbus and Schultz explains
it has recently supplied a part to a US-based customer
who was operating an A320ceo aircraft (more on page
Top left: AM will
play a key role in
Airbus’ three zeroemission
known as ZEROe
42 February 2021 | www.machinery.co.uk | MachineryMagazine | @MachineryTweets