Like every other industry, the aerospace industry also relies on innovations and overcoming the present challenges. In this scenario, 3D printing has played quite a significant role. Not just the aerospace industry, 3D printing has taken engineering on the whole by storm. In the last few years, it has displayed marvelous potential and changed the creation of structures, components, and machines. Simply put, it has made a significant difference in the aviation and aerospace industries.
Metal parts have always been carved out of aluminum or other metals that fit the applications. This is rather time-consuming and expensive. With 3D printing, these components can be built automatically by adding layers of metals and even different metals on top of each other.
With 3D printing, the parts are much lighter, resulting in lesser fuel consumption, thereby saving energy. This can save a massive sum of money over a plane’s lifetime.
Role Of 3D Printing In The Aviation Industry
Over the following decades, air traffic is expected to go twice as much as now due to the steady growth. Even today, the aviation industry is under a heavy load and building and maintaining aircraft is a huge challenge. On top of that, the carbon dioxide emissions from operating flights also need to be reduced. In this situation, the advent of 3D printing is paving the way for solutions.
In the aviation industry, 3D printing allows for faster production processes. Another noteworthy advantage is that demand-driven additive manufacturing does not generate any excess components, which usually occurs with series production.
With lighter parts reducing the fuel consumption, a lot less fuel is burned, saving an extensive amount of energy.
Benefits Of 3D Printing In The Aviation Sector
As proven by the statistics, with every decade, the global aviation fleet doubles in size. This results in a lot of pressure on the manufacturers to produce new aircraft while maintaining the old ones. This pressure can be drastically reduced with 3D printing. It can easily lessen the production time and create the parts with astounding accuracy.
Moreover, it can also revolutionize the industry by creating lighter parts that will impact the payload, fuel consumption, speed, and admissions. The key components of a plane such as air ducts, seat frameworks, panels and some engine components can benefit from the reduced weight, which would not have been possible without 3D printing.
Renowned engineering companies of the aviation sector are using 3D printing in their supply chain.
They aim to improve all the existing components and optimize the plane’s efficiency.
3D printing elements can also cut down on time and parts required to build sections of a plane. For instance, a heat exchanger for a catalyst is made out of 300 separate components, but with 3D printing, it can be printed as a single part!
Aviation Companies Using 3D Printing
All the leading aviation companies of the world acknowledge the importance of 3D printing. They are moving towards adopting this enhanced means of developing plane components to increase the efficiency of the aircraft.
Airbus is a known global leader in the aerospace industry. With 3D printing, Airbus is building a more resource-efficient and cost-effective aircraft. For instance, using 3D printing for manufacturing a locking shaft for aircraft doors has helped achieve remarkable results, such as:
- Almost 45% weight reduction of the additively manufactured part while ensuring the same strength
- Eliminating production costs by 25% by reducing material usage and assembly times
- The number of parts was brought down from 10 to 1
- Sixteen door shafts were installed in an A350 aircraft, and the weight reduction accounted for more than 4 kgs.
So far, Boeing has used 3D printing to produce over 60,000 parts! Their Dreamliner 737 uses 3D printed parts, which is likely to go higher as newer parts get developed and improved.
After looking at these developments, all aviation companies are now aiming to invest in 3D printing. By observing the brilliant outcomes, it’s safe to say that3D printing can make planes lighter, quieter, and much more efficient.
Rumour has it that Etihad is reconsidering every part inside the cabin and is working on how feasible it would be to 3D print them. Their Innovation Centre is working towards reimagining the non-flying parts and observing their functionality. They will try to improve them using cutting-edge designs and manufacturing processes.
Undoubtedly, 3D printing is the future of manufacturing. In a field like aviation, where weight and efficiency decide the functionality of planes, these innovations are paramount.
Like everywhere else in the world, 3D printing services in Australia are also gaining popularity. At CAD Deziners, we take pride in providing the best 3D printing in Australia. We work with the finest technicians. With the magic of 3D printing, we can help you produce 3D printed goods of your dreams!