Airbus Helicopters embraces 3D printing
November 2, 2023 By Helicopters Staff
Airbus Helicopters opened a new 3D printing centre at its Donauwörth site in Germany, significantly expanding its in-house capacity for the process. Airbus Helicopters now operates three machines for components made of titanium, four for plastic parts and, as a new element, a machine that can produce components made of aluminium.
Airbus explains additive manufacturing can be used for serial production as well as for components for prototypes such as the electrically powered CityAirbus NextGen and the experimental high-speed helicopter, Racer.
“Our extensive capabilities in this process along the manufacturing chain are a real competitive advantage,” said Stefan Thomé, Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters in Germany. “Among other advantages, 3D printing can reduce the weight of aircraft components which leads to less fuel consumption. Such potential can bring financial benefits and contribute to reducing CO2 emissions during operations.”
Since 2017, Airbus Helicopters has mass-produced more than 9,400 locking shafts for the doors of the Airbus A350, using the additive process as part of the Donauwörth-based airplane door business. Eleven tonnes of titanium powder have been used in Donauwörth for printing the locking shafts.