Airbus (Leiden, Netherlands) and Arconic (Pittsburgh, PA) have achieved a 3D printing first with the installation of a 3D-printed titanium bracket on a series-production Airbus A350 XWB commercial aircraft. Arconic is 3D printing these parts for Airbus.
This first installation of a 3D-printed titanium part on a series-production Airbus commercial aircraft marks a milestone for additive manufacturing in aerospace. While airplane makers have been using 3D-printed parts for quite some time, largely for components inside the cabin, equipping airframes with metal parts produced via additive manufacturing is new.
|The first installation of a 3D-printed titanium part on a series-production Airbus commercial aircraft, the A350 XWB, marks a milestone for additive manufacturing in aerospace; Arconic is 3D printing these parts at its additive manufacturing facility in Austin, TX.|
In addition, Airbus's installation of this 3D-printed titanium bracket on a series production commercial airplane, as opposed to a test airplane, marks a significant step forward in the qualification of more complex 3D-printed parts for production aircraft. 3D-printed parts, including metal printed cabin brackets and bleed pipes, are already flying on Airbus A320neo and A350 XWB test aircraft.
|The 3D-printed titanium bracket from Arconic is now being installed on the Airbus A350 XWB series-production commercial aircraft.|
This 3D-printed titanium bracket is part of an ongoing partnership between the two companies. In 2016, Arconic announced three agreements with Airbus to produce titanium and nickel 3D-printed parts for commercial aircraft, including the A320 platform and A350 XWB. These agreements draw on Arconic's 3D printing technology capabilities, including laser powder-bed and electron beam processes.