Arconic, Airbus to advance 3D printing for aerospace

Arconic (NYSE: ARNC) has announced a multi-year cooperative research agreement with Airbus to advance metal 3D printing for aircraft manufacturing, the company said.

Together, the companies will develop customized processes and parameters to produce and qualify large, structural 3D printed components, such as pylon spars and rib structures, up to approximately 1 meter (3 feet) in length.

The deal combines Arconic´s expertise in metal additive manufacturing and metallurgy with Airbus´s design and qualification capabilities, building on its experience with regulatory agencies for certification.

Under this agreement announced at the Formnext additive and advanced manufacturing conference in Frankfurt, Germany, Arconic will use electron beam high deposition rate technology to 3D print parts. This technology is ideally suited to produce larger aerospace components because it prints them up to one hundred times faster than technologies used for smaller, more intricate parts.

In addition, Arconic will demonstrate the benefits of its proprietary Ampliforgeâ„¢ process, which combines traditional and additive manufacturing. The Ampliforgeâ„¢ process treats a near complete 3D printed part using an advanced manufacturing process, such as forging, which enhances the properties of 3D printed parts — increasing toughness, fatigue and strength versus parts made solely by additive manufacturing — and reduces material input and production lead times.

Arconic will draw on additive and advanced manufacturing capabilities at its facilities in Cleveland, Ohio and at the Arconic Technology Center outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Arconic creates breakthrough products that shape industries. Working in close partnership with our customers, we solve complex engineering challenges to transform the way we fly, drive, build and power.