Airbus Helicopters opens new 3D printing center in Donauwörth

Airbus Helicopters opens new 3D printing center in Donauwörth

11-Oct-2023 Source: TRUMPF

The aviation company Airbus Helicopters will in future use 3D printers from the high-tech company TRUMPF to produce components for its helicopters and for aircraft from the parent company Airbus. Airbus Helicopters is expanding its additive manufacturing capacity with a new 3D printing center in Donauwörth. TRUMPF supplies the machines for 3D printing of metal. “We are working on the helicopters of the future in Donauwörth using innovative manufacturing processes. “Among other things, 3D printing helps reduce the weight of the components,” says Helmut Färber, site manager of Airbus Helicopters in Donauwörth. This helps aircraft operators to reduce fuel consumption and thus their costs. It could also help reduce CO2 emissions during flights. Using the 3D printing process, Airbus Helicopters will produce components for, among other things, the electrically powered CityAirbus, the experimental high-speed helicopter Racer and the Airbus A320 and A350 passenger aircraft.

3D printing is a key technology for lightweight construction

“TRUMPF supports the aviation industry worldwide as a reliable partner with its manufacturing know-how. Our 3D printing systems are a key technology on the path to sustainable flying and they reduce dependence on long supply chains,” says Richard Bannmüller, CEO of TRUMPF Laser and System Technology. Through additive manufacturing, entire assemblies can be printed as a single component. This saves weight. At the same time, the components are very stable and meet the strict safety requirements of the aviation industry.

Additive manufacturing saves raw materials in production

Using 3D printers from TRUMPF, Airbus Helicopters produces structural components made of titanium and high-strength aluminum. “Additive manufacturing saves expensive raw materials and reduces production costs in the aviation industry. 3D printers only use the material that the designers actually need for their components and that ultimately takes off in the plane,” says Bannmüller. 3D printing users can also reuse unused metal powder. Conventional manufacturing processes, on the other hand, require up to ten times more raw material than the final product. When milling or machining, a large part of the raw material ends up in waste.

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