Premium Aerotec has partnered with German additive manufacturing leader Concept Laser to begin the series production of 3D-printed metal parts for the Airbus Group at its new production facility in Varel site (Friesland).
With its investment, Premium Aerotec is following the plans of Airbus, which according to Peter Sander, Airbus, Head of Emerging Technologies & Concepts, is planning to print one tonne of metal powder a month in 2018.
Aerotec’s new production hall for 3D metal printing began operating in January following an opening ceremony attended by 250 employees and guests, including Brigitte Zypries, Parliamentary Secretary of State at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and aerospace coordinator for the German Government. This heralded the start of the industrial series production of a double-walled pipe elbow in the fuel system of the A400M transport aircraft. These complex parts were previously produced from individual cast parts which were then welded together to form one assembly.
The production hall houses two Concept Laser M2 cusing Multilaser machines and one X line 1000R machine with another expected to follow later this year. The X line features the world’s largest powder-bed-based laser melting machine build envelope (800 x 400 x 500 mm) and is equipped with two 1000 watt lasers.
Signing cooperation agreement between Concept Laser and Premium Aerotec.
Frank Herzog, CEO & President of Concept Laser GmbH, commented: “The fact that we have been chosen as premium supplier to Premium Aerotec fills us with pride and demonstrates to us that we are on the right path.”
For the aviation industry, additive manufacturing methods present both an opportunity and a challenge. As a premium supplier for machinery and plant technology, the relationship between Concept Laser and Premium Aerotec will help to further industrialization of the laser melting process for applications in aviation, further development of plant, process technology and QA systems and support the qualification of new powder alloys.
Herzog added: “This cooperation marks an important milestone for the industrialization of 3D metal printing in aircraft construction and undoubtedly also sends a signal to other industries. The network will work together to improve the value chain. We are already working today on the solutions of tomorrow to make laser melting with metals even more attractive for commercial series production. The implementation of the Industry 4.0 concept in the form of digitization, automation and the interlinking of any number of machines are an integral part of our AM Factory of Tomorrow, which was presented at the end of last year.”