Essentium, Inc., a worldwide leader in industrial additive manufacturing (AM), announced a commercial venture with Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), the largest university aviation R&D institution in the U.S., to accelerate AM advances for the U.S. aviation industry. The collaboration is part of the Kansas Aviation Research and Technology Growth Initiative (KART), comprised of Kansas-based aviation companies including Airbus, Bombardier Learjet, Spirit AeroSystems, and Textron Aviation, which select programs to enable the future of aerospace innovation.
Located in Wichita, Kansas, the ‘Air Capital of the World’, NIAR will work with Essentium to advance extrusion AM through a multi-stage process to test solutions to benefit KART and the aerospace industry in general.
Future applications that could benefit from the collaboration between NIAR and Essentium include tooling, spare parts, and ultimately flight-worthy end-parts. The NIAR team will use the Essentium High Speed Extrusion (HSE) 3D Printing Platform, which delivers groundbreaking speed and scale for rapid part production at the point of use and decreases the time and cost to certify new materials for use in flight. The platform will ensure reliability, repeatability, safety and performance to keep older aircraft flying, acquire needed spare parts, and innovate designs for new aircraft systems.
The Essentium HSE provides an open platform that offers aviation companies more choice in materials, giving them the flexibility to 3D print hundreds of aircraft parts in different colors and textures, in the same time it takes to assemble the components by traditional methods. Essentium engineers will use their experience and knowledge in materials science to tune the materials accordingly to process at speed while being strong enough to withstand impact loading and fatigue and protect electrostatic-sensitive devices.
With this venture, the next generation of AM innovation is poised for fast adoption as aviation companies strive to cut lead times and respond more quickly to market changes.