1. Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace
6 min read

Additive Manufacturing in Aerospace

Moving from prototype to certified part

In recent years, modern Additive Manufacturing has grown exponentially in terms of what can be achieved. No longer just a method to produce nice-looking prototypes, now engineers can create any shape that best meets their need and can manufacture them almost anywhere they are needed: under the sea, in deep space, in crisis zones or on the shop floor.

While additive manufacturing is hardly new to aviation companies, there is a new push to get it from the laboratory to the factory floor. GE Aviation is working on entirely 3D printed engines. CFM’s LEAP engine has 3D printed fuel nozzles. In April, Reuters reported that Boeing would start using 3D printed parts for structural components of its 787 Dreamliner.

Additive manufacturing can accelerate the innovation process, eliminate the need for molds, reduce raw material and energy used in production by 90 percent and reduce fuel costs for airlines. So how can Aerospace companies embrace additive manufacturing ahead of their competition?

A Single Environment for Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing applications in 3DEXPERIENCE provide a single unified environment for designers, manufacturing specialists and simulation analysts to collaborate on generative design, build planning, virtual printing and post-processing. Watch this demonstration to learn how.

The Benefits of Additive Manufacturing

Engineers focused on Additive Manufacturing (AM) challenges must solve these questions:

  • Can we make the structure 50% lighter and 50% stronger at the same time?
  • Can we print spare parts with in-service quality?
  • How many parts can we print per hour if they need to exhibit a specific strength?
  • Can we achieve durability?
  • How can we design AM to go from single parts to full assembly?

Additive Manufacturing allows engineers to optimize standard parts for cost and weight, prototype and produce complex parts quickly and cheaply without tooling. AM cuts material waste compared to traditional milling methods. Engineers leverage the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to design and simulate highly optimized parts based on space allocation, loads, constraints, manufacturing processes, and multi material requirements (polymers, metals, and engineered materials) and then use various 3D printers to produce these optimized parts.

Additive manufacturing makes it possible to combine multiple and numerous parts or Bill of Materials (BOMs) into one, resulting in big savings by reducing assembly, labor, inventory and maintenance, as well as potentially reducing certification paperwork. AM also produces a highly complex shape that reduces material and weight by 40% to 90%.  AM reduces between 80 and 90 percent of scrap while associated with machining or other subtractive manufacturing steps.

Additive Manufacturing – Print Anything, Anywhere, Any Way

Additive Manufacturing is not as simple as buying 3D Printers and printing parts. Learn how your company can embrace additive manufacturing in this 45-minute webinar.

Optimize Parts in Days, not Months

Additive Manufacturing promises previously unknown design freedom and much greater flexibility than traditional manufacturing processes. Like any other manufacturing process, to be used effectively, companies must understand additive manufacturing particularities and fields of application.

Until now, each department used separate models focused on their own task: geometry model (CAD), the model for manufacturing and assembly, or the function-describing (simulation) models adding system behavior and physics modeling. Having separate models leads to a series of handoffs between engineers and simulation analysts that could sometimes take weeks to resolve.

Generative Design technology empowers designers to innovate using a unified design and simulation environment with a new intuitive workflow. Non-specialist designers can automatically generate conceptual parts from a functional specification.  A push of the button runs a simulation and generates the optimized concept shape. The part can then be comprehensively validated in the context of the previously defined specification. It is easy for the non-expert to create expert results.

Many designers are already using Generative Design and achieving fantastic results; “A company was able to create a product in 2 days which normally took 3 months. Another achieved time savings by factor of 4 and found weight reduction in the order of 20 to 30%.”

The Design Revolution in Aerospace & Defense

Design engineers constantly strive to minimize part weight, maximize stiffness, reduce cost and optimize material usage. Learn how engineers can design without limits within the new (Generative) Design Revolution in this whitepaper.