Helicopters are important for various fields such as construction, law enforcement, military, tourism, and transportation, and by using 3D printing for certain components such as pump brackets and turbine nozzles, it will allow them to be manufactured at lower costs.
Previously, Airbus, a company with locations across the globe, used 3D printing to fabricate aircraft parts, and Airbus Helicopters started doing the same for parts such as windshield wipers and camera mount extensions.
The company is continuing to use the technology, and is preparing to start serial production of 3D-printed door latch shafts out of titanium powder, which will begin in 2019.
We are proud that Airbus Helicopters relies on EOS-Technology for the manufacturing of flight-critical components such as latch shafts, said Nikolai Zaepernick, senior VP of Central Europe with EOS. Our systems provide a very high and reproducible quality. With this machine performance and with our know-how, we can significantly support Airbus Helicopters in the certification process for the component.
After the titanium latch was successfully redesigned, Airbus explained that this new move represents the first production of metallic 3D-printed components.
Our goal is to get developers making more use of 3D printing, said Luis Martin Diaz, head of industrial service centres at Airbus Helicopters Donauwörth. This means that 3D printing should be taken into consideration right from the initial planning stages for new components, which may be able to be manufactured particularly easily and cost-effectively using this method. Weight savings are especially important when it comes to helicopters.
Image courtesy of 3D Print