Commercial

A350 XWB Gets a 3-D-Printed Part

By S.L. Fuller | September 22, 2017

Arconic and Airbus achieve a 3D printing first—the installation of a 3D printed titanium bracket, shown here, onto a series production Airbus commercial aircraft, the A350 XWB. (Photo: Business Wire)

Arconic and Airbus achieve a 3-D printing first — the installation of a 3-D-printed titanium bracket, shown here, onto a series production Airbus commercial aircraft, the A350 XWB. Photo courtesy of Airbus

In what engineering and manufacturing company Arconic claims is a “first,” Airbus has installed a 3-D-printed titanium bracket on a series production of Airbus commercial aircraft. Arconic is printing parts for the Airbus A350 XWB at its additive manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas.

This first installation of a 3-D-printed titanium part on a series-production Airbus commercial aircraft marks a milestone for additive manufacturing in aerospace,” Arconic said. “While airplane makers have been using 3-D printed parts for quite some time, largely for components inside the cabin, equipping airframes with metal parts produced via additive manufacturing is new.”

Arconic also said that since the part was installed on a production aircraft, as opposed to a test airplane, it shows progress toward the qualification of more complex 3-D-printed parts for production aircraft. Metal-printed cabin brackets, bleed pipes and other 3-D-printed parts are currently flying on A320neo and A350 XWB test aircraft, according to Arconic.

This project comes as part of a 2016 deal to produce titanium and nickel 3-D-printed parts for commercial Airbus aircraft.

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