Manufacturing aerospace structural components require a wide range of complex machinery. Aerostructures operates a well-equipped machine shop and is responsible for producing parts needed to keep this machinery running at full efficiency and build tooling, jigs and fixtures to optimize productivity.
Aerostructures originally purchased a Fortus 900mc™ 3D Production System to reduce time to market by building prototypes of components for many of the company’s end products much more quickly than previously possible. Over the last few years, UTC Aerospace has also used the 3D printer to substantially reduce the cost and lead time required to build machinery replacement parts as well as tooling, jigs and fixtures.
Searching for strength.
UTC Aerospace technicians redesigned the nozzle and 3D printed it with ABS material. Metal toggle clamps were used to attach it to the remainder of the fume collection system. Unfortunately, the 3D printed nozzle cracked at the point where the loads from the toggle clamps were applied. Technicians estimated that producing a metal nozzle using CNC machining would cost about $2,000 and take about 21 days.
Enter ULTEM 1010 resin.
The cost, including material cost and burden rate, was $750 and the part was produced in one day. “ULTEM 1010 provided the qualities needed for the nozzle,” Crano said. “The new part has been in use for eight months without cracking or any other issues and has solved the fume control problem. We also expect that it will have longer life than the previous printed part.”
“Beyond this specific application, we believe that ULTEM 1010 has tremendous potential for printing of tooling, jigs and fixtures because of its exceptionally high strength and heat resistance,” Crano concluded. “The rugged factory environment often puts high demands on 3D printing materials and based on our experience ULTEM 1010 is fully capable of meeting the challenge.”
|CNC machining||21 days||$2,000|
|3D printing||1 day||$750|
|Savings|| 20 days