Stratasys expands 3D printing aerospace partnerships ahead of Paris Air Show

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Photo by Stratasys

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based 3D printing and additives manufacturing company, Stratasys Ltd, has entered a number of technical partnership and supply deals to the aircraft industry, ahead of the Paris Air Show, 19-25 June.

The latest of these is with Boom Supersonic: in a 15 June statement, the company said that it had signed a three-year agreement with the Denver-based passenger plane start-up to accelerate the development speed of new supersonic aircraft using  Stratasys FDM 3D printing technology. 

Boom Supersonic, which is backed by entrepreneur Richard Branson, is dedicated aiming to create a civilian supersonic transport aircraft able to fly up to Mach 2.2.

Under the agreement, Boom will be able to leverage FDM-based 3D printing for production-grade aircraft parts and advanced composite tooling on their path to transform air travel.

According to Stratasys, the 3D printing will offer “design freedom, production speed, and heightened cost efficiencies” to Boom which plans for the first flight of its supersonic demonstrator XB-1 to take place next year.

The company is deploying Stratasys FDM-based Fortus 450mc and F370 3D Printers — designed to produce on-demand parts as well as advanced manufacturing tools.

The company did not give further details on the materials to be used for parts production.

Boom’s supersonic airliner is claimed to be able to fly 2.6 times faster than any other aircraft on the market today, reducing the 7-hour length of the London-New York flight to just over three hours. 

“Supersonic flight has existed for over 50 years, but the technology hasn’t existed to make it affordable for routine commercial travel… Additive manufacturing helps accelerate development of a new generation of aircraft,” explained Blake Scholl, Founder and CEO of Boom.

Stratasys, he said, will be a “key catalyst” in Boom’s design and production processes.

“We are proud to add Boom Supersonic to a roster of aerospace companies successfully implementing our additive manufacturing solutions to deliver new innovations in aviation,” said Rich Garrity, president of Americas for Stratasys.

Stratasys, he went on to say, could offer high engineering-grade and high-efficiency 3D printing suited for producing the complex part designs and custom manufacturing tools within the aviation industry.

In its preview of the Paris Air Show, Stratasys also announced on 1 June, that it had established a strategic partnership with SIA Engineering Co (SIAEC) to accelerate the adoption of 3D printed production parts for commercial aviation.

The Singaporean company is specialised in aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in the Asia-Pacific.

Under an MOU signed 5 April, the parties will explore a joint venture to be majority owned by SIAEC.

This partnership will use Stratasys’ knowhow and expertise in additive manufacturing, including in the aerospace segment, with SIAEC’s MRO service offerings to provide global airline customers with scheduled maintenance and “on-demand parts” solutions.

In January, Etihad Airways, Siemens and Abu Dhabi-based composite aero-structures manufacturer Strata produced the first fully-certified 3D printed aircraft interior part in the Middle East using Stratasys FDM 3D printing technology.

Stratasys’ Ultem 9085 resin is also certified to an Airbus material specification, which combines a high strength-to-weight ratio with flame, smoke, and toxicity compliance for aircraft flight parts.

“This enables Airbus to produce strong, lightweight parts, while substantially reducing production time and manufacturing costs,” the company announced.

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