3D printing is driving changes of unimagined scope in the aviation industry. 3D printing, also known as "additive manufacturing," is a tool-free process that is especially suitable for producing parts with complex geometries. The technology is based on adding consecutive layers, and can be used for rapid prototyping as well as rapid manufacturing. It allows the fast, cost-effective production of prototypes as well as high-quality series parts certified for aviation use.
Many different synthetic materials can be used to suit the specific application, such as ABS, PA 12, PC, ULTEM 9085 etc. The total usable volume is around 60,000 cm³. This permits production of components up to 405 mm x 355 mm x 405 mm.
A high level of technical knowledge is needed upfront for design and data preparation so that the 3D printing process can run reliably and at high quality. Thus, successful printing of aviation parts is not so much a matter of choosing the right printer as it is of the technical prep work.
Krüger Aviation GmbH works exclusively in additive manufacturing using synthetics, focusing on rapid manufacturing. The company hopes to increase the number of aircraft parts made in 3D printing versions.