Aviation news analysis
50 SKY SHADES - World aviation news

Bridging the gap with 3D printing

Download: Printable PDF Date: 09 Apr 2018 14:43 category:
Publisher:
Bridging the gap with 3D printing - Manufacturer publisher
Tatjana Obrazcova
Country: France Aircraft: Airplanes

First 3D-printed part visible to passengers will be flying soon with Finnair

When an airline updates its aircraft cabin layout, gaps are often created between the existing and new components. Such gaps need to be bridged before the aircraft can take on passengers, and time always is of the essence in returning a jetliner to revenue-generating service.

The traditional method of manufacturing a new plastic part involves creating custom-made injection moulding tooling – a process that is relatively complex, especially given the specialised nature of many components and the limited number needed for a typical cabin retrofit. By using 3D printing technology, Airbus has enabled small-batch manufacturing that is not only quicker than conventional moulding techniques but less expensive, too.

Where traditional production methods struggle, 3D printing shines

Not only are 3D-printed parts as strong as those made with traditional moulding methods, they can be made lighter in weight; an important consideration for jetliner interiors, where every kilogram counts. While 3D-printed parts have been integrated into Airbus aircraft in the past, the results were not deemed aesthetically pleasing enough to be used where they could be seen by passengers – until now.

Through a partnership with the Belgium-based Materialise company, Airbus now has the first 3D-printed parts seamlessly integrated into the cabins of its jetliners. These parts – spacer panels that fill end-gaps in a row of overhead storage compartments – have passed Airbus’ stringent cabin trim and quality standards and will soon be visible to passengers aboard Finnair’s A320 aircraft, whose cabin layout has been updated. 

By using 3D printing, Airbus was able to create bio-inspired panels 15 percent lighter than if made using conventional production methods. This technology also enables the creation of complex internal support structures, such as lattices inside the panels, without imposing additional manufacturing costs.

 

3D-printed spacer panel 1

While 3D-printed parts have been integrated into Airbus aircraft in the past, the results had not been used in public view until spacer panels meant to fill an end-gap in a row of overhead storage compartments aboard an Airbus A320 aircraft flown by Finnair

3D-printed spacer panel 2

By 3D-printing spacer panels for use aboard Finnair’s A320 aircraft, Airbus created bio-inspired panels 15 percent lighter than if made using conventional production methods

 



Loading comments for Bridging the gap with 3D printing...


Recommended

Airbus and Audi partner to provide air & ground urban mobility services

Seamless, ultra-convenient travel experience ahead for customers Airbus and the German car manufacturer Audi have teamed up to develop real, near-term urban mobility solutions. Beginning this su...

Metals and composites: finding the right material for each application

After nearly a century of dominance as the material of choice for aircraft, metals are seeing increased competition from composite materials in use on such aircraft as Airbus’ widebody...

Airbus and Rolls-Royce sign UltraFan engine integration collaboration agreement

Airbus’ powerplant integration expertise to play an important role in optimising the fuel efficiency gains of Rolls-Royce’s UltraFan engine demonstrator Airbus and Rolls-Royce have sign...

Irkutsk Aviation Plant to produce the first 10 serial MC-21 aircraft by 2020

The Irkutsk Aviation Plant to produce 10 serial MC-21 aircraft by 2020, by 2023 - already 35, and by 2026 will reach the maximum production volumes. This was announced on Thursday by the Governor of t...

EAD Aerospace announces EASA STC for Ka-Band SATCOM installation for A319, A320, A321 NEO & CEO

EAD Aerospace, an Eclipse company, has received the final EASA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for Inmarsat GX fuselage satcom antenna installation on Airbus A319 CEO, A320 CEO and NEO, A321 CEO a...

Sikorsky Announces its German Industrialization for the Country's New Heavy Lift Helicopter Competition

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, announced its German industrialization plan for competing in the German Air Force "Schwerer Transporthubschrauber" (STH) Program with the world clas...

Japan Coast Guard bolsters fleet with additional H225 order

New purchase brings JCG’s Super Puma fleet to 13 units Airbus Helicopters has secured an additional order of one H225 helicopter from the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), bringing JCG’s H225 fl...