Nowadays, 3D printing has been widely adopted throughout many aspects of the aerospace industry. An early adopter of the technologies, printed parts have been used by aerospace companies since the late 1980s to help with design intent, validation, tooling aids, and end production.
3D printing in aerospace offers the industry total design freedom to manufacture highly intricate and lightweight components, as well as the reduction of assembly part numbers thus leading to a significant reduction in weight, and therefore cost!
With a boosting demand for top selling aircrafts like A320 and B787 and a rise in air travel, key companies are relying on 3D Printing to reduce maintenance and save fuel.
Over the next decade, the aerospace market is expected to grow substantially in all aspects –civil, military, engine components, structural and space components as many giants of the industry race to develop engine parts using 3D printed aerospace parts for a cleaner, more efficient world of aviation.
Why do aerospace companies use 3D Printing?
- New design challenges can be resolved prior to any expensive tooling.
- Iterations can be tested, tweaked and repeated as required, and approved parts moved to production in a fraction of the time of traditional methods.
- Certified materials give accurate results with significant scope for prototyping AND production
- Part weight reduction dramatically decreases operating costs.
- Customised and bespoke ‘one-off’ products can be manufactured for specific aircraft or operations.
- Cost effective and fast MRO solutions for individual repairs reduces unplanned downtime
- Lightweight part production in end use materials
- Reduction of assembly part numbers
- Improved workflow and production quality with custom made jigs and fixtures
- Low volume production runs in aluminium and titanium
- Aesthetic and functional cabin interior components
Why choose LPE for your aerospace requirements?
- Over thirty years of experience in aerospace prototyping and production
- Multiple collaborative and research programs with major aerospace companies and academic institutions
- Wide range of materials to deliver both functional and visually accurate parts – including plastics, metals, and rubbers
- In-house secondary painting, finishing, polishing, machining and assembly if required
- ISO9001 certified – committed to quality assurance
- Cutting edge engineering solutions
- Robust PCD tailored for control and documentation of aerospace production components
- COCs, first article inspection reports, in house testing and full material traceability available on request
- Providing MRO solutions – experienced machine operators & in house engineers with a wealth of experience in aerospace applications / production processes
- Working as a key supplier to aerospace companies
- Flexible project lead times allowing customers to accelerate campaign success
- Next-day delivery throughout the UK and Europe
LPE Recommended Materials & Processes for Aerospace
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) - Nylon (PA 2210FR)
Applications include: Low volume production parts, functional tests
Laser sintered parts made from PA 2210 have excellent material properties with high strength and rigidity, good chemical resistance and finishing possibilities. It is a tough, functional material with high temperature resistance, designed for strong end user parts. With excellent mechanical properties, users can test products early to ascertain issues and even substitute injection moulding for simplified, high-spec 3D printing. Parts made in 2210FR are aerospace approved for flammability, as well as smoke and gas generation.
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) – Aluminium AlSi10Mg
Applications include: Low volume production engine parts
Aluminium AlSi10Mg is a widely used alloy that combines light weight and good mechanical properties The material has good thermal and electrical conductivity especially after heat treatment. With excellent corrosion resistance and dynamic properties, lightweight aerospace designs are much more easily achievable than with traditional casting methods. With flexible post processing options, it is ideal for housings, engine parts and even production tools.
Digital Light Processing (DLP) - Figure 4 HI TEMP 300 AMB
Applications include: Small motor enclosures, high temperature plastic components, low volume production
An ultra-high temperature plastic for use in applications requiring high heat resistance. With heat deflection temperature of over 300 °C at both low and high stress (HDT at 0.455 and 1.82 MPa), this material is well suited for the testing of high temperature components
Suitable for the harshest environments, it is well suited for aerospace testing and even low volume end use production parts.
Interested in finding out more about the materials we offer?