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Boeing Partners With Oerlikon To Increase Adoption Of 3D Printing

Chicago, US: Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has entered into a five year agreement with Swiss technology group Oerlikon to standardise titanium materials and processes for additive manufacturing. 

The terms of the agreement were not described, but the partners indicated their focus will be to industrialise titanium powder-bed fusion additive manufacturing, and to certify that the parts they develop meet the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and US Department of Defense flight requirements.

“This agreement is an important step toward fully unlocking the value of powder bed titanium additive manufacturing for the aerospace industry,” said Leo Christodoulou, chief technologist, Boeing.  

Boeing has been researching and conducting additive manufacturing technologies for more than 20 years, and the company stated it has about 50,000 additively manufactured parts in place on its commercial aircraft, defence aircraft, and space programs. Last year, the company installed an FAA-qualified additively manufactured structural titanium part, on the 787 Dreamliner.

“This program will drive the faster adoption of additive manufacturing in the rapidly growing aerospace, space and defence markets,” said Dr Roland Fischer, chief executive officer, Oerlikon. “Working together with Boeing will define the path in producing airworthy additive manufacturing components for serial manufacturing. We see collaboration as a key enabler to unlocking the value that additive manufacturing can bring to aircraft platforms.”

Both companies will use the data they co-develop to support the qualification of additive manufacturing suppliers to produce metallic components, using various materials and additive manufacturing technologies.

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