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Now Arriving: 3D Printed Metal Aircraft Parts

Arconic is taking metal 3D printing out of the lab and into the skies

“We are combining our expertise in metallurgy, manufacturing, design and product qualification to push beyond the possibilities of today’s 3D printing technologies for aerospace”

Klaus Kleinfeld | Arconic Chairman and CEO

Metal finishing at Arconic’s Austin additive manufacturing facility

Arconic is taking metal 3D printing out of the lab and into the skies. Our 3D printed parts have already orbited Earth on the Orion spacecraft—and are now taking flight in sky nearer you on Airbus commercial aircraft. 

With the potential to produce lighter weight parts with increasingly complex geometries, 3D printing—often called additive manufacturing—is poised to revolutionize aerospace manufacturing. And Arconic is on the cutting-edge of commercializing this technology for aerospace.

Why is Arconic in the lead? Because 3D printing is complex. And you can’t just download a design and press print when it comes to metal parts for aircraft, cruising at 575 mph at 40,000 feet in the air. Arconic brings together comprehensive capabilities under one banner to harness the full potential of additive manufacturing.

We start by optimizing product design. And because high performance designs require high performance materials, we’re building on more than a century of experience in metal alloy development and metal powder production to engineer proprietary titanium, nickel and aluminum powders that are the “smart ink” in our 3D printing processes. Metal powders used for 3D printing durable, high-quality aerospace parts are available in limited quantities. At our new state-of-the-art, 3D printing metal powder production facility located at the Arconic Technology Center, we will develop materials with the specific properties needed to 3D print high-performance components.

We have expertise in a range of additive-manufacturing technologies, including wire fed and hybrid technologies, to produce parts tailored to our customers’ needs.  

But it’s not enough to print the part. One of the main challenges of getting metal 3D printed parts flying is qualifying them to do so. Arconic has the job in hand – backed by our decades of experience in aerospace product qualification.

Today a few aircraft parts, tomorrow quite possibly the whole aircraft. Ambitions for 3D printing are high. And we’ll keep pushing them higher.

Infographic: Arconic and 3D Printing: Our Revolution is in the Making

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