The automation of component making in airliner manufacturing may have been in full swing for decades, but 3D printing is the technology that is rapidly shifting from demonstration mode to conventional production applications.
Airbus has just posted these two images of a complex wing-engine pylon component using the 100 percent accuracy of the technique.
In a statement Airbus says:
Airbus completed for the first time the installation of a titanium 3D-printed bracket on an in-series production A350 XWB. The bracket, built using additive-layer manufacturing (ALM) technologies (also known as 3D-printing), is part of the aircraft pylon, the junction section between wings and engines.
This is the first step towards qualification of more complex 3D-printed parts to be installed on production aircraft.
Additive-laying manufacturing ‘grows’ products from fine base material powder-such as aluminium, titanium, stainless steel and plastics-by adding thin layers of material in incremental stages, which enables complex components to be produced directly from computer-aided design.
3D-printed parts are already flying on some of Airbus A320neo and A350 XWB test aircraft. These include metal printed cabin brackets and bleed pipes.