Which additive manufacturing technology to use for each aerospace application?
Why is the aerospace industry an early adopter of metal additive manufacturing?
Metal additive manufacturing technologies, specifically selective laser melting, allow achieving the levels of certification required to manufacture complex parts that cannot be machined and that improve the performance and functionality of the component. When it comes to structural parts with high mechanical demands, only SLM technology offers engineers design freedom to consolidate parts, and to reduce weight and cost. Ultimately, it is the technology that enables strategic decisions to be made where they are needed.
The advantages of additive manufacturing
In the aerospace sector, 3D printing offers advantages and benefits that would be impossible using traditional manufacturing technologies.
Some usage examples
Whether you want to produce just one part, or a complete series, SLM technology is capable of meeting all the needs of the modern aerospace industry. Learn more about the many manufacturing possibilities using selective laser melting in the aerospace industry.
Other technologies and applications
Of course, the aerospace industry is not just about manufacturing the final part and the benefits achieved by lightening it or shortening innovation cycles. As in any other manufacturing industry with a high R&D component, there are other applications where additive manufacturing is extraordinarily useful and beneficial.
In the innovation phase, where proofs of concept or mockups are needed to validate new designs, the photopolymer technologies are used to create models faithful to the ideas conceived.
Already in development, where these ideas must be tested and their feasibility studied both at a structural level and the ability to be produced, new product engineering requires the use of prototypes. In this case, depending on the part to be studied, these prototypes will be made of metal or plastic and, therefore, will use metal additive manufacturing technologies or photopolymer technologies to produce plastic parts.
For the creation of tools, within the final part manufacturing process, we tend to use photopolymer technologies for rapid tooling, but when we need said tool to have very demanding mechanical, thermal or chemical properties, we will use Fiber technology, that is, High-strength composites reinforced, in addition, with continuous fibers (normally, continuous carbon fiber). Of course, sometimes there is no other material that works for us and we will need to make our tooling in H13 steel or similar, for which we will use SLM or BMD technology, depending on the size and requirements of the part.