How to Overcome the Additive Manufacturing Challenges in Aerospace

Bhagyashri Kambale | December 06, 2021 | 855 views
ADDITIVE-MANUFACTURING-MIN
Aerospace manufacturing and design are getting advanced with additive manufacturing. However, the limitations of traditional manufacturing techniques sometimes make it incompetent to produce technologically oriented products. Additive Manufacturing (AM)helps the aircraft system run more efficiently by creating lightweight aircraft parts.

This is one of the reasons that additive manufacturing is gaining traction in aerospace and other industries. According to recent analysis and data, the global additive manufacturing market is expected to grow from USD 9.52 billion in 2020 to USD 27.91 billion in 2028. The expanding technologies and materials used in additive manufacturing will indeed stimulate industry growth shortly.

It’s important to note that there isn’t one channel that is the silver bullet. Most of the time, a combination of different channels will help drive a more powerful outcome.”

– Wendy Lee, Director of Marketing at Blue Prism

However, the aerospace industry encounters some challenges with additive manufacturing, which is the focus of this article. Scalability, multi-material capabilities, professional workers, high-cost materials, and quality compliance norms are all constraints that aerospace professionals are dealing with. Here we will discuss the top three challenges of additive manufacturing in aerospace and their solutions.

Future of Additive Manufacturing in the Aerospace Industry

Even though additive manufacturing has been around for a while, it has only lately become advanced enough to be used in the aerospace sector.
In the aerospace business, additive manufacturing has the potential to deliver significant benefits. Cost savings, design freedom, weight reduction, shorter time to market, fewer waste materials, better efficiency, and on-demand production are just some of the benefits.
Although additive manufacturing cannot make every part, it provides an exciting opportunity to explore feasible alternatives, either supplementing or replacing traditional manufacturing processes. However, it must be taken into account early in the development phase. Additionally, knowledge must be embedded in aircraft design teams to ensure the successful use of additive manufacturing.

However, in recent years, AM has become more prevalent in end-to-end manufacturing. According to Deloitte University Press, the future of AM in aerospace may include:

  • Directly embedding additively produced electronics
  • Wings printing
  • 3D printing engine parts
  • Making battlefield repair components


Top 3 Additive Manufacturing Challenges in the Aerospace Industry and Solutions

While problems are inherent in any new technology, experts overcome them by identifying solutions. Let's look at the top three challenges that the aerospace industry is currently facing and the solutions to overcome them.


Lack of Qualified Experts

Using 3D printers in production and automating work processes are skills that are lacking. However, the obstacles are natural, and the skilled manufacturing workforce is aging and reluctant to adapt to new design models. This is creating the skills gaps surrounding manipulating AM technology.


How to Overcome

Less time spent educating employees is better for business. For example, the US National Additive Manufacturing Institute and the European ADMIRE initiative offer accelerated courses via remote learning websites.
Of course, you'll need to provide numerous additive manufacturing opportunities to attract the key technologists, either on-site or off-site. They will oversee new hires' activities and help them translate their knowledge of 3D printing into designs and final items.


Over Budget Material

The typical cost of AM equipment is $300,000. Industrial consumables cost between $100 and $150 per item (although the final price is formed after choosing the material; plastic, for example, is the most budget-friendly option).


How to Overcome

To overcome this obstacle, you must plan a long-term implementation strategy based on the manufacturing-as-a-service model. On-demand manufacturing reduces manufacturing costs and speeds up product development. You can also go with cheap 3D printers that use cheap welding wire that hasjust come onto the market. They cost $1,200 and may suit your needs.


Fresh Quality Compliance Guidelines

As 3D printing and CNC manufacturing technologies constantly evolve, there are no established norms or regulations for 3D printed objects. However, 3D printed solutions do not always match traditional quality, durability, and strength. For example, a 3D-printed mechanical part. Can someone order 500 similar parts a few months later? Consistency standards and product post-processing may have a negative impact in such circumstances. So, in such a case, traditional manufacturing wins over 3D printing.


How to Overcome

You might endeavor to set quality criteria for your 3D-printed products to ensure they are comparable to traditional ones. You can also apply the ANSI AMSC and America Makes standards, which define quality criteria for 3D printed products.


How Boeing Applies Additive Manufacturing Technology?

Boeing is focusing its efforts on leveraging and speeding up additive manufacturing to transform its manufacturing system and support its growth. The company operates 20 additive manufacturing facilities worldwide and collaborates with vendors to supply 3D-printed components for its commercial, space, and defense platforms.

Boeing is now designing missiles, helicopters, and airplanes using 3D printing technology. A small internal team contributes roughly 1,000 3D-printed components to the company's flight projects. Boeing claims that addressing design as an "integrated mechanical system" considerably improves manufacturability and lowers costs.


Final Words

Additive manufacturing is altering the way the aerospace industry designs and manufactures aircraft parts. Aerospace advanced manufacturing is making aircraft production easier. We've explored solutions to some of the snags that you may encounter. However, other concerns, such as limited multi-material capabilities and size constraints, require solutions, and industry specialists are working on them. Despite these challenges, additive manufacturing is still booming and rocking in a variety of industries.


FAQ


Why is additive manufacturing used in Aerospace?

It allows the industry to build quality parts quickly and inexpensively. Reduce waste and build parts for aircraft that are difficult to manufacture using existing methods.


How does additive manufacturing help in Aerospace applications?

Environmental control system (ECS) ducting, custom cosmetic aircraft interior components, rocket engine components, combustor liners, composite tooling, oil and fuel tanks, and UAV components are examples of typical applications. 3D printing helps in producing solid, complicated pieces with ease.


Which aerospace firms use additive manufacturing/3D printing?

Boeing and Airbus are two of the many aircraft businesses that use additive-created parts in their planes. Boeing incorporates additive manufacturing (AM) components into both commercial and military aircraft. Airbus also employs AM metal braces and bleed pipes on the A320neo and A350 XWB aircraft.

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