12/14/2017 | 1 MINUTE READ

Arconic and Airbus Team Up to Advance AM for Aerospace

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The companies will pool their resources to develop processes to produce structural 3D-printed aerospace components.

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Arconic announced a multi-year cooperative research agreement with Airbus to advance metal 3D printing for aircraft manufacturing. Together, the companies will develop customized processes and parameters to produce and qualify large, structural 3D-printed components, such as pylon spars and rib structures, ranging to approximately 1 meter (3 feet) in length. The deal combines Arconic’s expertise in metal additive manufacturing and metallurgy with Airbus’s design and qualification capabilities, building on its experience with regulatory agencies for certification.

Arconic Executive Vice President and Group President Eric Roegner says, “Additive manufacturing promises a world where lighter, more complex aerospace parts are produced cheaper and faster. We’re joining forces to make that potential a reality in a bigger way than ever before.”

Under this agreement, Arconic will use electron beam high-deposition-rate technology to 3D print parts. This technology is said to be ideally suited to produce larger aerospace components because it prints them as much as 100 times faster than technologies used for smaller, more intricate parts.

In addition, Arconic will demonstrate the benefits of its proprietary Ampliforge process, which combines traditional and additive manufacturing. The process treats a nearly complete 3D-printed part using an advanced manufacturing process, such as forging, which enhances the properties of 3D-printed parts, increasing toughness, fatigue and strength compared to parts made solely by additive manufacturing. The process also reduces material input and production lead times.

The company will draw on additive and advanced manufacturing capabilities at its facilities in Cleveland, Ohio, and at the Arconic Technology Center outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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