Arconic and Airbus installed a 3D-printed titanium bracket on a series production Airbus commercial aircraft, the A350 XWB – a first for 3D printing. Arconic is 3D printing these parts for Airbus’ newest wide-body aircraft at Arconic’s additive-manufacturing (AM) facility in Austin, Texas. The first installation of a 3D-printed titanium part on a series production Airbus commercial aircraft marks a milestone for AM in aerospace. While airplane makers have been using 3D-printed parts for quite some time, equipping airframes with metal parts produced via AM is new.
In addition, the installation of this 3D-printed titanium bracket on a series production commercial airplane marks a significant step forward in the qualification of more complex 3D-printed parts for production aircraft. 3D-printed parts are currently flying on Airbus A320neo and A350 XWB test aircraft.
Last year, Arconic announced three agreements with Airbus to produce titanium and nickel 3D-printed parts for commercial aircraft. These agreements draw on Arconic’s 3D-printing technology capabilities, including laser powder-bed and electron-beam processes.