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AM continues to establish itself in the aerospace sector

June has been an exciting month for additive manufacturing in aerospace. We’re seeing more AM specialists roll out new materials, technology and solutions that are specifically tailored to the sector’s exacting requirements.

We saw Stratasys exhibit at the recent Paris Air Show, where they unveiled a new solution that utilises their FDM Fortus 900mc Production printer to deliver parts that meet all FAA and EASA regulations. This means that high-quality, compliant parts can be produced on a regular basis, allowing 3D-printed parts to be used in a greater number of production applications across the aerospace sector.

Rigorous industry regulations and certifications have been a major challenge for AM specialists in a number of industries, not just aerospace (medical, for instance). It’s encouraging that increasing confidence in the technology across these sectors is opening the door for AM specialists to deliver tailored solutions to these challenges. Such solutions require close collaboration between AM bureaus or in-house teams and their clients, but the potential rewards are great. Not only will the quality of the printed parts delivered be enhanced, we will also see smoother, more efficient workflows develop around industry-specific challenges and regulations.

In parallel with these developments, new partnerships are forming and longstanding ones are evolving. For example, GKN Aerospace recently announced the newest developments of their partnership with SaaB, expanding the range of 3D printed metal parts they will deliver and introducing new materials and technology to the operation.

Additive manufacturing offers a wide range of potential benefits to the aerospace sector, but to fully realise them, we need more collaboration of the sort we have seen throughout this month. While it will certainly represent an ongoing challenge for both bureaus and in-house teams, it will help AM complete its move from prototyping to production and establish a new standard of best practice across the aerospace sector.