Design problems need creative solutions
The aerospace and defence industries are a great match for 3d printing and additive manufacturing. These are both industries that need to:
- reduce the cost of manufacturing,
- prototype ideas rapidly, and
- explore solutions to overcome tough environmental conditions.
This is backed up by the fact that these industries have a history of being pioneers and early adopters of new technology. 3d printing and additive manufacturing help these industries by bringing efficiencies in the following areas:
- Design complexity
- Weight reduction
- Part strength and durability
- Production cost savings
Because any shape can be manufactured using 3d printing, additive manufacturing means companies can explore geometries and parts that were either impossible or extremely expensive to manufacture previously. This frees up engineers to explore new and more efficient designs.
In any circumstance but more so in flight, these industries are always looking for stronger and lighter designs. 3d printing or additive manufacturing allows engineers to find new ways to reduce weight of manufactured parts. Lighter and stronger parts have a direct impact because they can reduce the amount of fuel needed to power the craft as well as reducing CO2 emissions too.
Part strength and durability
The advances in additive manufacturing have meant the new and stronger materials can be used in the manufacturing process. Certain metal powders that can be used in Direct Energy Deposition additive manufacturing mean parts are simply stronger and more durable.
Production cost savings
3d printing can make prototyping and manufacturing parts less expensive than traditional design to manufacture cycles. The manufacturing process itself also tends to generate less waste than conventional manufacturing processes too.