4/28/2016 | 1 MINUTE READ

Concept Laser Signs Cooperation Agreement with Aerospace Manufacturer

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The AM equipment builder will serve as a supplier as well as a partner for Premium Aerotec’s metal 3D printing operations.

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Concept Laser has signed a cooperation agreement to serve as premium supplier of the machinery and plant equipment for Premium Aerotec, a subsidiary of Airbus. Premium Aerotech is beginning series production of 3D-printed metal parts for the Airbus Group at a new production hall in Varel, Germany, specifically built for the additive manufacturing of titanium parts.

According to Peter Sander (Airbus, Head of Emerging Technologies & Concepts), Airbus is planning to print one ton of metal powder a month in 2018. Accordingly, AM production and AM processes are expected to expand through 2018.

Premium Aerotec’s new facility for metal 3D printing opened on January 20, 2016, heralding the beginning of production of a double-walled pipe elbow for the fuel system of the A400M transport aircraft. These complex parts were previously produced from individual cast parts which were then welded together to form one assembly. Premium Aerotech now uses two M2 cusing Multilaser machines and one X line 1000R machine from Concept Laser produce 3D parts in the LaserCusing process.

“By the middle of 2016, another X line 2000R will be added,” says Gerd Weber, site manager in Varel. “It features what is currently the world’s largest build envelope (800 × 400 × 500 mm) in the field of powder-bed-based laser melting and is also equipped with two 1,000-W lasers.”

In addition to serving as premium supplier under the agreement, Concept Laser will also assist in the further industrialization of the laser melting process for applications in aviation, the further development of the plant and process technology and the QA systems, as well as the qualification of new powder alloys.

“This cooperation marks an important milestone for the industrialization of 3D metal printing in aircraft construction and undoubtedly also sends a signal to other industries,” says Frank Herzog, Concept Laser president and CEO. “The network will work together to improve the value chain. We are already working today on the solutions of tomorrow to make laser melting with metals even more attractive for commercial series production. The implementation of the Industry 4.0 concept in the form of digitization, automation and the interlinking of any number of machines are an integral part of our AM Factory of Tomorrow, which was presented at the end of last year.”

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