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Accelerating innovation in aerospace with additive manufacturing

30 June 2022

From producing aviation parts to advancing space exploration, additive manufacturing has helped transform manufacturing for the aerospace industry. The ability quickly to produce low-volume, high-quality custom parts has enabled manufacturers to become more flexible and agile in how they approach design and production.

In the early days of the technology, additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) was used mainly for prototyping. It allowed designers and engineers to design, test and iterate on ideas quickly and cost effectively. Since then, additive manufacturing technology has evolved and, along with it, the types of materials available.

As a result, we are seeing additive manufacturing used for a wider range of applications that not only help with aircraft performance, but also lend to cost, weight and lead time reductions. Applications include engine and turbine components, cabin interior parts (like air ducts or door latches), electronics housings, as well as ongoing use for prototyping, jigs, fixtures, and other tooling components. 

Additive manufacturing has simplified the CAD design to a physical part process, accelerating prototyping and allowing for faster iterations. Complex and intricate geometries are also possible with 3D printing. This not only allows designers and engineers to think more strategically about how their parts should look and function, but it also allows them to test and experiment with different applications and materials...

Read the full article in DPA's July issue

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