Stratasys Direct Manufacturing
Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Stratasys Ltd., was recently chosen by Airbus to produce 3D printed polymer parts for use on A350 XWB aircraft. The company will print non-structural parts such as brackets, and other parts used for system installation, on Stratasys FDM production 3D Printers using ULTEM™ 9085 material. The project will help Airbus achieve greater supply chain flexibility and improve cost competitiveness, while leveraging on reduced material consumption and waste.
FDM, which is short for Fused Deposition Modeling, uses production thermoplastic materials such as ULTEM 9085 and ULTEM 1010—which are certified to UL-94V0, FAR 25.853, and FAR 29.853 standards. The process works by heating and extruding the thermoplastic filament and using it to build the parts up layer-by-layer. ULTEM 9085 is often favored for aerospace applications because it is flame, smoke, and toxicity-certified to UL-94V0 and FAA 25.853 standards. It also offers outstanding thermal and chemical resistance, and excellent strength-to-weight ratios.
Stratasys Direct Manufacturing’s 3D printing capacity and infrastructure allow printing and shipping parts on demand to Airbus, bringing the expected reactivity, tighter turnaround times and lower inventory costs.
The Airbus A350 XWB is a family of long-range, twin-engine wide-body jet airliners developed by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. It is the first family of aircraft to feature a fuselage and wing structures made primarily from carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. Powered by twin Rolls-Royce Trent XWB turbofan engines that produce 97,000 lbf of thrust, it seats anywhere from 280 to 366 passengers, depending on configuration.
Stratasys, the parent company of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, and Airbus share a history of collaboration, having worked together since 2013 on the implementation of 3D printing FDM technology for Airbus tools and flying parts applications. This collaboration led to the qualification in 2014 of ULTEM 9085 material for the production of flying parts on various Airbus aircrafts.
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