Materialise announced the qualification by Airbus to manufacture flight-ready parts using laser sintering technology. The material used in the process, produced by EOS, is a flame-retardant polyamide (PA 2241 FR).
With this development, Materialise and EOS become the first suppliers to be qualified by Airbus to produce laser sintered parts under the Airbus Process Specification AIPS 03-07-022. Materialise now offers two 3D printing technologies approved by Airbus for flight-ready parts.
The qualification is valid across Airbus and marks a significant milestone for the wider adoption of polymer 3D printing in aerospace. PA 2241 FR offers Airbus and its suppliers a cost-effective complement to the initially validated 3D printing material Ultem 9085, also used at Materialise. By bringing laser sintering on board, Airbus broadens its usage of 3D printing with the world’s second most commonly used 3D printing technology*. In addition to the material PA 2241 FR, qualification also encompasses the respective processes for 3D printing the material on EOS systems. In particular Materialise will leverage EOS systems including the EOS P 770 to manufacture PA 2241 FR parts for Airbus.
EOS PA 2241 FR, the newly qualified material, is a flame-retardant Polyamide12-based material which is used for processing in laser sintering systems. Due to its high refresh rate, PA 2241 FR enables cost-effective production while meeting the strict quality standards required of flight-ready parts. Typical aerospace applications include aircraft interior parts such as air ducts and brackets. The material is suitable for parts which must fulfill fire, smoke and toxicity (FST) requirements, without use of a primer and top coating.
The qualification is an important milestone in the deployment of Polymer AM technologies in Airbus.
Materialise currently prints around 100 different part numbers for the Airbus A350, totaling an estimated 26,000 parts per year across the A350 ecosystem. Additionally, the company is also set to supply parts for other Airbus aircraft platforms including the A320, A330, and A340. For this, EOS industrial 3D printing technology plays and will play a key role.
*source: Statista, June 2020