4/26/2018 | 1 MINUTE READ

Oerlikon, Boeing Partner to Standardize Metal AM

The collaboration is intended to create standard practices and materials for producing AM parts for the aerospace industry.


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Boeing and Oerlikon signed a five-year collaboration agreement to develop standard materials and processes for metal-based additive manufacturing (AM). The companies will use the data from this collaboration to support the qualification of suppliers producing metallic components using a variety of AM machines and materials.

The research will initially focus on industrializing titanium powder-bed fusion AM, ensuring parts made with the process meet the flight requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense (DOD). The collaboration between the companies will enable them to meet the current challenges to qualify materials and processes for aerospace, providing a route for the adoption of additive manufacturing with a qualified supply chain that achieves quality and cost targets.

“This agreement is an important step toward fully unlocking the value of powder-bed titanium additive manufacturing for the aerospace industry,” says Boeing Chief Technologist Leo Christodoulou. “Boeing and Oerlikon will work together to standardize additive manufacturing operations from powder management to finished product and thus enable the development of a wide range of safe, reliable and cost-effective structural titanium aerospace components.”

“This program will drive the faster adoption of additive manufacturing in the rapidly growing aerospace and defense markets,” says Oerlikon Group CEO Dr. Roland Fischer. “We see collaboration as a key enabler to unlocking the value that additive manufacturing can bring to aircraft platforms.”

Boeing has 50,000 3D-printed parts flying on commercial, space and defense programs. In 2017, it became the first aerospace manufacturer to design and install an FAA-qualified, 3D-printed structural titanium part on a commercial airplane, the 787 Dreamliner. With the creation of the Boeing Additive Manufacturing organization in 2017, it is focused on using AM to enable greater affordability, quality, customization and speed to market.