Concept Laser A world first: additively manufactured titanium components now onboard the Airbus A350 XWB

Editor: Thomas Masuch

Additively manufactured titanium components are now onboard the Airbus A350 XWB, Concept Laser announced.

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Additively manufactured titanium bracket onboard the Airbus A350 XWB. A new aircraft design requires thousands of these.
Additively manufactured titanium bracket onboard the Airbus A350 XWB. A new aircraft design requires thousands of these.
(Source: Airbus)

The bracket connector used in the Airbus A350 XWB was honoured as a finalist in the running for the “2014 German Industry Innovation Award”. In the eyes of the jury, this cross-industry project is revolutionising the way structural aircraft components are made and lightweight construction is implemented in civil aircraft, Conept Laser said.

Additive manufacturing causes new synergies to emerge

Previously this component was a milled part made of aluminium; now it is a printed part made of titanium with a weight reduction of greater than 30%. The arguments for the laser melting of metals in aircraft construction are geometric freedom and weight reduction. The “lightweight construction” approach is intended to help airlines operate their aircraft more economically. A new aircraft design requires thousands of flight test installation brackets, which are produced in very small unit quantities. Additive layer manufacturing allows designers to come up with new structures. According to Concept Laser, the additive components are in fact more than 30% lighter than conventional cast or machined parts. The omission of tools reduces the costs and shortens the time until the component is available for use by up to 75%. Since tools are not required in the process, it's now possible at an early stage to produce functional samples of components that are similar to series produced components. Peter Sander, Head of Emerging Technologies & Concepts, Airbus, Hamburg: “Previously we budgeted around six months to develop a component – now, it's down to one month.”

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