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Top 3 Ways 3D Printing is Transforming Aircraft Interiors

Stratasys Direct
Stratasys Direct February 05, 2019
February 05, 2019
aircraft interiors 2

Top 3 Ways 3D Printing is Transforming Aircraft Interiors

Designing and manufacturing for aircraft interiors hinges on weight reduction. To reduce weight, cutting down on material and additives is key. 3D printing allows for the creation of continuous units, meaning all necessary features are consolidated into one part thereby reducing material usage, additional hardware and attachment features, and overall weight.

3D printing began factoring into the production of interior aircraft components over a decade ago. Air ducts, wall panels, and seat framework have all benefited from the ability to create complex geometries and organic shapes for reduced weight with 3D printing. As more and more airlines seek to add seats or increase passenger space, 3D printing offers a way to simplify parts and thin down panels, overhead compartments and seat components. Here are the top 3 ways we see 3D printing transforming aircraft interior manufacturing:

Less Material Usage

3D printing is an additive process, meaning it adds material layer by layer to build a final part rather than subtracting from a block of material. In a conventional process, a tool might be machined, then injected with material to pop out a final part. This scenario requires two tools for each side of the part, tool fixtures, machining with its inherent material consumption, discarded tool prototypes that have to be switched out as designs change, and finally fasteners to connect the injection molded part to the aircraft. By contrast, 3D printing goes from design file to printed part ready to plug into your aircraft – with attachment fittings and even movable features incorporated into the final 3D print, reducing overall material consumption and therefore material costs.

Complex, Consolidated Parts with High Strength

Paneling, seat trays, framework, overhead storage – these are items that rely on 3D printing both directly and indirectly. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) with ULTEM™ 9085 resin material directly impacts the production of aerospace parts. FDM with ULTEM™ 9085 resin has FST compliance for aircraft interior applications. The resin provides excellent strength-to-weight ratio, which is why Airbus currently uses FDM with ULTEM™ 9085 resin to manufacture 1,000s of parts for its aircraft.

part consolidation

Weight Reduction & Cost Savings

It almost goes without saying: less material and consolidated designs that result in fewer components means overall weight reduction. But weight reduction also occurs from optimized, revolutionary designs only possible through 3D printing. 3D printing is a new way of thinking about aircraft components. That’s our challenge to designers: Think outside the box and find a new way of manufacturing that helps your bottom line. We know 3D printing can do all the heavy lifting, metaphorically and literally.

9085, 1010 and ULTEM™ trademarks are used under license from SABIC, its affiliate or subsidiary.

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