Laser additive manufacturing produces prototype aircraft parts

CRP Technology used its selective laser sintering technology and composite materials for the manufacturing.

Feb 14th, 2019
Content Dam Ils Online Articles 2019 02 Rsz Crp Aircraft

Additive manufacturing specialist CRP Technology (Modena, Italy) used its selective laser sintering technology and composite materials to manufacture some external parts for the wind tunnel model of the AW 609, a multi-role TiltRotor aircraft, built by Leonardo HD (Helicopter Division; Rome, Italy) under the control of the model supplier ATI (Newport News, VA). 

The AW609 TiltRotor combines the benefits of a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft, making it a true-capability hybrid aircraft. The AW609 TiltRotor features a composite airframe, advanced touch-screen cockpit, and full fly-by-wire digital controls. These advanced technologies will provide new levels of performance, safety, reliability, and affordability for operators.

Taking off and landing vertically, flying above adverse weather conditions in a pressurized cabin at twice the speed and range typical of helicopters, the AW609 TiltRotor represents the next generation of aircraft transport for commercial, para-public, and defense markets. This multirole aircraft can be configured for commercial applications such as executive and private transport, energy services, emergency medical services, and search and rescue, as well as defense and national security applications like Homeland Security, Naval, Utility, and Personnel Recovery (SAR).

To speed up the manufacturing process for this model, the external fuselage and additional components were manufactured using the same approach chosen for the low-speed AW609 model: selective laser sintering technology and Windform XT 2.0 carbon composite material. The parts were manufactured byCRP USA, CRP Technology's partner (Mooresville, NC), under the control of ATI.

CRP USA demonstrated how the use of Windform composite materials, originally developed for themotorsports industry by CRP Technology, is now finding many uses in space and aerospace exploration. 

CRP USA also demonstrated the effectiveness of additive manufacturing and the use of Windform as a structural material for space applications: for the first time, Windform XT 2.0 was used for a high-speed model tested at NASA's Ames Research Center.

This model has performed a high-speed wind tunnel test campaign at NASA's Ames Unitary Plan 11 x 11 ft. transonic wind tunnel. CRP Technology has manufactured some external parts for the wind tunnel model of the AW 609 TiltRotor aircraft.

For more information, please visitcrptechnology.com.

More in Additive Manufacturing