Additive manufacturing is often referred to as 3D printing. In addition to an unrivaled degree of freedom in designing the parts, additive manufacturing produces individual parts very quickly - a huge advantage when prototypes or one-off parts must be manufactured.
In the highly weight-conscious world of aircraft, the lower weight of parts makes using the AM technology very attractive.
Dr. Aenne Koester, head of the AM Center, explains: "The new AM Center will serve as a collaborative hub where the experience and skills that Lufthansa Technik has gained in additive manufacturing can be bundled and further expanded. The aim is to increase the degree of maturity of the technologies and to develop products that are suitable for production."
As the transfer of a new technology into the highly-regulated world of commercial aircraft operation and MRO poses a challenge, a joint team of Lufthansa Technik experts and AM specialists from numerous industry partners and research institutions develops strategies to support the introduction of this technology. As one example, a cooperation with Oerlikon AM aims at enhancing the understanding of process repeatability, a key element of industrialization and certification. The collaboration will also help drive the industrialization of additive manufacturing forward, as the study results will be shared with relevant industry bodies to support defining standards for the qualification and approval of aircraft components.