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Case Study

Dassault Falcon Jet – ULTEM™ 1010 Resin Composite Tooling

January 10, 2024
Resin Tool Being Held By Technician

Customer Profile

Dassault Aviation is a French aerospace company producing both military and civil aircraft, including the Falcon series of business jets. With a legacy of innovation and technical investment, Dassault uses 3D printing to optimize its production processes to reduce both lead time and cost.

3D printed interior components

Challenge

Dassault traditionally used FRP (fiber-reinforced plastic) molds to create composite aircraft structures. However, these tools are expensive and can take months to produce. Additionally, they are heavy and require a forklift to lift and transport. For its Falcon business jets, Dassault sought a more timely and less costly solution to mold the aircraft’s composite interior panels.

Solution

In collaboration with Stratasys, Dassault 3D printed a composite lay-up tool with ULTEM™ 1010 resin. This material can withstand temperatures up to 350 °F (177 °C) and pressures as high as 100 psig (690 kPa), making it capable of withstanding most vacuumbag or autoclave composite consolidation processes. The tool was printed with a sparse-fill interior construction, reducing its weight, while meeting Dassault’s design requirements of 250 °F (121 °C) and 14.7 psi (101.3 kPa).

Impact

The ULTEM™ 1010 resin lay-up tool took approximately three weeks to produce, including all post-print processing. This is a three-month reduction in lead time compared to the time required to produce a standard FRP tool. In addition, the 3D printed ULTEM™ resin mold saved Dassault nearly $20,000, a 75% cost reduction. The lay-up tool weight was also reduced to only 17 pounds, light enough for one person to move and carry.

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