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Boeing and Oerlikon collaborate to develop materials and processes for 3D printing

March 05, 2018
Source: ASM International

Oerlikon, Switzerland, and Boeing, Chicago, announce that they have signed a five-year collaboration agreement to develop standard materials and processes for metal-based additive manufacturing.

Boeing and Oerlikon will use the data from this collaboration to support the qualification of additive manufacturing suppliers to produce metallic components using a variety of machines and materials. The research will initially focus on industrializing titanium powder-bed-fusion additive manufacturing. The goal is to ensure that parts made with this process meet the flight requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense.

The strong collaboration between Boeing and Oerlikon will enable the companies to meet the current challenges to qualify materials and processes for aerospace, and will provide a route for the adoption of additive manufacturing with a qualified supply chain that achieves quality and cost targets.

Since 1997, Boeing has been a leader in researching and implementing additive manufacturing in the aerospace industry. It currently has about 50,000 3D-printed parts flying on commercial, space and defense programs. In 2017, Boeing became the first aerospace manufacturer to design and install a Federal Aviation Administration-qualified 3D-printed structural titanium part on a commercial airplane, the 787 Dreamliner.

“This agreement is an important step toward fully unlocking the value of powder-bed titanium additive manufacturing for the aerospace industry,” said Leo Christodoulou, Boeing Chief Technologist. “Boeing and Oerlikon will work together to standardize additive manufacturing operations from powder management to finished product. This will enable the development of a wide range of safe, reliable, and cost-effective structural titanium aerospace components.”

Since the creation of the Boeing Additive Manufacturing organization in 2017, Boeing has been focused on using additive manufacturing to generate value y enabling greater affordability, quality, customization, and speed-to-market innovation.

According to Dr. Roland Fischer, CEO Oerlikon Group, “This program will drive the faster adoption of additive manufacturing in the rapidly growing aerospace, space, and defense markets. Working together with Boeing will define the path in producing airworthy additive manufacturing components for serial manufacturing. We see collaboration as a key enabler to unlocking the value that additive manufacturing can bring to aircraft platforms and look forward to partnering with Boeing.”

Oerlikon is a leading service provider in additive manufacturing, offering a full-range of integrated additive manufacturing services along the entire value chain – from metal powder production to component design, manufacturing, post-processing, and quality inspection. 

Subject Classifications

Industries and Applications | Aerospace and Defense

Materials Processing and Treatment | Additive Manufacturing

Materials Processing and Treatment | Powder Metallurgy

Materials Processing and Treatment | Thermal Spray Technology

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