Earlier this year, the Belgian additive manufacturing pioneer Materialise NV announced that it had successfully secured EN9100 and EASA 21G certification, thereby authorizing the company to deliver airworthy additive manufactured end-use parts. The company has now followed up that news with the announcement that their certified Factory for 3D printing is currently indeed manufacturing plastic parts for the Airbus A350 XWB.
A new generation of aircraft, the A350 XWB offers 25% lower fuel consumption, in addition to providing the highest standards of comfort to passengers. The latter is becoming ever more important as the frequency and length of long-haul flights continue to rise.
For its newest A350 XWB, Airbus has introduced a high level of intelligence through the integration of simple, robust and efficient state-of-the-art systems, which ensure reliability and lower maintenance requirements. And part of this innovation includes the use of a number of 3D-printed end-use parts of the A350 XWB are being 3D printed, a technology that, says Materialise, makes sense, especially in view of the benefits in terms of topology optimization and functional integration.
“Airbus understands and appreciates the benefits that 3D printing—or more appropriately in this case, Additive Manufacturing (AM)—can bring to the most modern widebody aircraft: the A350 XWB,” said Materialise Executive Vice President of Production, Bart Van der Schueren. “In addition, with one of the most thorough test programs developed for a jetliner, the use of AM end-use parts sends a strong signal about the reliability and quality that AM can deliver today.”
For 25 years, Materialise has been working to improve AM through an ever more sophisticated software offering, and a Factory for 3D Printing that manufactures parts that meet the needs of even the most demanding of industries, including the health care, automotive and aerospace sectors.
“As such, we are very proud to now be delivering end-use, flight-ready parts to Airbus,” said Van der Scheuren.