Airbus APWorks has signed a co-innovation agreement with market leader in application software SAP, which aims to accelerate the adoption and standardisation of industrial 3D printing initiatives for the aerospace and defense industry.
The Airbus Group subsidiary which specialises in metal additive manufacturing, will use the on-demand 3D printing services recently announced by SAP to operate a bionics network that connects 3D printing experts and end users. These services will allow APWorks to manufacture 3D printed components such as armrests and brackets whilst improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. APWorks can also better manage spare part orders in real time to deliver qualified products for safety-critical applications in aerospace and other industries.
The agreement aims to address the digitisation and simplification of the production part approval process and validating parts for 3D printing. It will also acknowledge the optimisation of a design and redesign of a part or system for on-demand manufacturing. In addition, the certification process will be accelerated for 3D printing firms as well as complete coverage of each step of the production chain. Finally, the agreement will secure on-demand budgetary price for manufacturing firms to evaluate 3D printing parts versus traditional manufacturing, including cost components such as tax and warehousing, using the SAP Product Lifecycle Costing solution.
As 3D printing helps to reinvent the manufacturing supply chain, SAP will extend its supply chain solutions to include collaboration and certification cloud service for industrial 3D printing, as well as an on-demand 3D printing manufacturing network.
“The ability to 3D print all the possible components of an A350 aircraft could reduce the weight of it by nearly a ton,” said Joachim Zettler, CEO of APWorks. “On-demand 3D printing cloud service from SAP can help us to develop our vision for distributed, on-demand production of aerospace components and still meet the high quality standards necessary to make the aircraft fly.”
“Innovation in on-demand 3D printing is now revolutionising traditional manufacturing,” said Torsten Welte, global head of Aerospace and Defense Industry, SAP. “In the next few years 3D printing will be widely adopted across manufacturing industries. The aerospace and defense market will transform digitally to strive to achieve near-zero unplanned downtime on commercial flights as well as support high production turnaround at a lower cost. What makes 3D printing most attractive in aerospace is the removal of many costs associated with traditional manufacturing like stocking inventory. Users are enabled to print the parts they need, as needed.”
Championing innovation in industries like aerospace and automotive, AP Works recently unveiled Light Rider, the world's first 3D printed electric motorcycle manufactured using the company's unique Scalmalloy material. The same alloy was used last year to produce the world's largest 3D printed aeroplane component, the "bionic partition" in collaboration with Autodesk. The bracket was a generatively designed alternative to the dividing wall on commercial aircraft that separates the seating area and galley. Airbus estimates that this new lightweight design approach could save up to 465,000 metric tons of C02 emissions per year.