Spotlight on advances in additive manufacturing in aerospace & defense

Dr Bryony CoreDr Richard Collins
Spotlight on advances in additive manufacturing in aerospace & defense
In IDTechEx Research's latest report Additive Manufacturing and Lightweight Materials for Aerospace and Defense 2018-2028, the focus is on advanced lightweight materials and the rise of additive manufacturing. The material outlook is for all aerospace and defense applications; aircraft have the highest demand by volume and the applications investigated ranges to structural load-bearing roles, interiors, jet engines, and more. This report tackles the key lightweight materials, targeting those most relevant to the aerospace and defense sector including: composites (FRP, CMC, MMC), lightweight metals (Al, Ti, Mg), and other emerging materials (specifically polymer aerogels and CNT yarns).
IDTechEx Research forecasts the key additive manufacturing technologies used by the aerospace and defense sector, with in depth discussion of currently commercialised and emerging printer technologies. The current state of the printer market is analysed, and long-range forecasts from 2018-2023 for accumulated and annual sales of printer technologies and materials including metal powders are evaluated. Key technological capabilities, aerospace and defense manufacturing readiness levels, SWOT analyses and key manufacturers are discussed for each established printer type.
As a key early adopter of additive manufacturing, organizations serving the aerospace and defense industry continually make the headlines as they push the boundaries of what is currently possible with additive manufacturing. IDTechEx presents a tech round-up of the latest innovations from GE Additive, Boeing and the US Airforce. Find out more about how additive manufacturing and lightweighting technologies are shaping design and manufacture in aerospace and defense with Additive Manufacturing and Lightweight Materials for Aerospace and Defense 2018-2028.
GE Additive builds pipeline of future talent
GE Additive is taking steps to ensure that the next generation of engineers is well equipped to capitalize on the opportunities and meet the challenges presented by AM as part of its five-year Education Program investment program. GE donated eight Concept Laser MLAB cusing R DMLM printers to worth $250,000 each to universities around the globe, including Ohio State University and the U.S. Naval Academy. At the time of the program's launch, Mohammad Ehteshami, VP of GE Additive stated that "Additive Manufacturing is revolutionising the way we think about designing and manufacturing products. We want a pipeline of engineering talent that have additive in their DNA. This education program is our way of supporting that goal."
Source: GE
Boeing HorizonX invests in start-up Morf3D
Boeing HorizonX Ventures co-led a Series A investment round for start-up Morf3D which specializes in providing advancing metal additive manufacturing services for aerospace applications. Since its founding in 2015, Morf3D has already leveraged its metallurgical and engineering expertise to provide Boeing with high performance titanium and aluminum components. "We are excited to be a distinguished and trusted partner of Boeing's additive manufacturing supplier base, as we continue to industrialize our processes for the high-rate production of flight-worthy additively manufactured components," said Ivan Madera, CEO of Morf3D. "This investment will enable us to increase our engineering staff and expand our technology footprint of EOS M400-4 DMLS systems to better serve the growing demands of our aerospace customers."
Source: Boeing
This artist concept shows Boeing's Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner docking to the International Space Station. Image source: Boeing Mediaroom
US Airforce potentially saves $8 million with a 75 ¢ modification
US Airforce service members based at the Yokata Air Base, Japan, have taken the initiative with their 3D printer to manufacture two printed components to modify their standard-issue gas mask into an aircraft oxygen system that can work on an aircraft. The current aircrew Eye/Respiratory Protection System, or AERPS, comes with several downsides: it is heavy, expensive and susceptible to faults which take a considerable amount of time to repair. However, using an FFF printer bought for a few hundred dollars, Sen. Airman David Petrich printed two components costing 75¢ each to create the "AERPS Ultra". Although they produced several prototypes before developing the final version, these small modifications could save the US Airforce up to $8 million. Tech. Sgt. Eric Lundeen highlighted that "This is going to affect every pilot in the Air Force. It gives them a lot more flexibility and mobility, increases safety and saves a ton of money." The new masks will be rolled out for flight testing in Japan in July 2018.
Additive Manufacturing and Lightweight Materials for Aerospace and Defense 2018-2028 looks at the key lightweighting approaches for this sector and which players and technologies stand to be the main winners and losers. The predominant focus is on advanced lightweight materials and the rise of additive manufacturing.
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