Top Applications of 3D Printing in the Aerospace Industry

Top Applications of 3D Printing in the Aerospace Industry

Boeing has been experimenting with 3D printing for a long time. Boeing began using 3D printing for satellite production a few years ago, and in 2019 it built the first 3D printed metal satellite antenna.

Fremont, CA: In general, the aerospace sector was one of the early adopters of 3D printing technology, with early use dating back to the late 1980s. It is still regarded as the industry with the highest rate of adoption of 3D printing technologies today.

Factors like faster delivery of final parts, relatively low production numbers, and the ability to Design for Additive Manufacturing are all important considerations (DfAM). The latter is notably important for making lighter parts while preserving strength, solving concerns like reducing an aircraft's fuel consumption by decreasing its overall weight, therefore lowering operational expenses, and minimizing carbon dioxide emissions - two major issues faced by airlines. External factors that are industry agnostic, such as supply chain optimization due to decentralized production of parts in the location where they are needed, also make additive manufacturing appealing as well as valuable for Aerospace industry players.

Boeing

Boeing has been experimenting with 3D printing for a long time. Boeing began using 3D printing for satellite production a few years ago, and in 2019 it built the first 3D printed metal satellite antenna. The antenna was created for Spacecom, an Israeli business that successfully launched its AMOS 17 satellite last August. Boeing was able to replace numerous elements in a complex assembly with a single 3D printed part by adopting additive manufacturing, decreasing the weight of the antenna and the time it takes to create it.

Airbus

Airbus arrived late to the additive manufacturing race, but it has emerged as one of the most daring users of additive manufacturing in the aerospace sector. Airbus installed the first titanium 3D-printed part for a serial production aircraft two and a half years ago, and since then, increasingly complicated 3D-printed components have been installed in its aircraft.

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