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.

Voices of Experience

Dassault Systèmes works with many leading Aerospace companies to define new ways of manufacturing to take advantage of the benefits of Additive Manufacturing. Listen to four conversations to learn how AM can change how parts and systems are designed, manufactured and supported.

Nyle Miyamoto, Additive Manufacturing Chief Engineer in Boeing Commercial Airplanes reveals his insights into Boeing’s additive manufacturing journey. As Boeing launches into its second century of flight, they need to transition additive manufacturing from prototyping to production.  Learn how Boeing is leveraging the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to accelerate the development and implementation of this ground-breaking technology.

Stefanie Feih of Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) shares her research in the field of lightweight design including materials, structures and joining. She provides a number of case studies and her lessons learned to best take advantage of AM technology.

Finally, Bill Bihlman of Aerolytics talks about the potential—and the challenges—of additive manufacturing in the aviation industry and Mike Vasquez of 3Degrees covers the processing and materials technology for 3D printing.  Both see the promise of additive manufacturing and understand the technical challenges to solve for operationalize 3D printing.

Voices from the Experts

Learn from these four experts about the promise and the perils of additive manufacturing.

From Prototype to Production

How are companies moving additive manufacturing from development of rapid prototypes to full-scale production?  One company, Morf3D Aerospace, specializes in metal-based additive engineering and manufacturing. Morf3D Aerospace's technology enables lighter and stronger 3D-printed parts for aerospace applications. Their goal is to create production quality components from powder to certified production part.

Morf3D Aerospace has been producing 3-D-printed aluminum and titanium components for Boeing satellites and helicopters since its founding in 2015.  In April 2018, they received significant funding from Boeing Horizon X to industrialize Morf3D Aerospace’s processes for the high-rate production of flight-worthy additively manufactured components. 

"Developing standard additive manufacturing processes for aerospace components benefits both companies and empowers us to fully unleash the value of this transformative technology," stated Kim Smith, vice president and general manager of Fabrication for Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Additive Manufacturing leader in the April 2018 Morph3D Aerospace press release.

Metallurgy experts at Morph3D Aerospace leverage a new set of additive manufacturing design rules to advance the technology and accelerate 3D-printing capabilities for commercial use. The company uses the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to significantly reduce mass, and increase the performance and functionality of manufactured parts. Advanced engineering and simulation capabilities will be essential as additive manufacturing moves from developing rapid prototypes to producing certified parts.

End to End Additive Manufacturing with Morf3D

Morf3D provides support to companies including ideation, generative design, 3D printing, processing and certification. Watch how 3DMorf supported the development of the Unmanned Aerial System.

The Future of Additive Manufacturing

To support additive manufacturing on a large scale, Dassault Systèmes created 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace to provide the most seamless way to get your parts made and collaborate with leading digital manufacturers worldwide. Launched publically in January 2018, the 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace now connects your company to a network of over 100 qualified service provides with access to 10,000 manufacturing machines.

Now, not only can companies identify the best partner based on its project specification, but also streamline the collaboration process by leveraging all the functionality of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform solutions including collaboration, geometric compliance and industrial standards. It also maintains full traceability for part development and productions; essential for certification efforts.

Using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform means that design and manufacturing can be linked through a single solution, starting from generative design and optimization with CATIA or SOLIDWORKS, through the selection of materials with BIOVIA, part resistance tests with SIMULIA, piloting the manufacturing process itself with DELMIA, as well as searches in the 3D model databases with EXALEAD.

3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace can be considered the largest factory in the world, accessible in just a few clicks by all of our aerospace customers.

Discover the 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace

The Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE® Marketplace empowers you to collaborate with qualified industrial service providers across a range of services throughout your product innovation process. Learn more about the marketing place now.

Explore Our Industry Solution Experiences

Learn more about how our Industry Solution Experiences can help you accelerate your company's adoption of additive manufacturing.