Brazilian Air Force’s Institute of Advanced Studies has partnered with Stratasys to efficiently create robust aircraft components that are on par with the Air Force’s strict requirements.
Specifically, the Brazilian Air Force – or the Instituto de Estudos Avancados (IEAv) is primarily utilising the Stratasys Fortus 900mc to manufacture complex and sophisticated parts. The integration of 3D printing solutions into the Air Force’s existing manufacturing methods allows test models to be produced within a week.
Without 3D printing, most aircraft manufacturers and air forces are forced to rely on traditional manufacturing methods and systems, which could take months due to the shipping process and inefficient batch production strategies.
“We needed the speed to accelerate our experiments and get practical results for the production of test models and components, which made us research for alternatives,” said Dr. Israel da Silveira Rego, the assistant researcher of the Professor Henry T. Nagmatusu Aerodynamics and Hypersonic Division, IEAv.
In recent years, the IEAv has been implementing a particular production method based on fused deposition modelling (FDM) technology, which was created by Stratasys founder, Scott Crump two decades ago. Since then, Stratasys has continued to lead research in the field and provide commercial applications of the FDM technology.
The use of FDM technology-based 3D printing has seen significant improvement in its manufacturing process and experiments. It has allowed IEAv to produce important aircraft parts on demand, optimising the entire testing phase in terms of time consumed and budget.
“Using Stratasys 3D printing, we can now improve and expand our research productivity due to the flexibility it provides, and the way it enables us to optimise our resources,” added Dr. Rego.
Testing of real-world applicability of FDM technology-printed aircraft parts has already begun. Once they pass the requirements and evaluation phase of the Brazilian Air Force, the 3D-printed components will be ready for commercial distribution.
Dr. Antonio Carlos de Olivera, senior researcher at the IEAv and FINEP research project manager explains that 3D printing technology further enables the institution to test out various projects and test models without inserting a serious amount of capital. Previously it has been impossible for the Brazilian Air Force to experiment with hybrid products and incomplete proposals as traditional manufacturing and shipping methods required substantial increase in budget. 3D printing has expanded the institution’s flexibility to take on innovative and experimental projects.
“This new form of prototyping with 3D printing is giving us greater flexibility, reliability and speed, at a significantly lower cost,” said Dr. Olivera. “3D printing technology is redefining our laboratory limits, opening up new possibilities and aspects of research. In addition, we gain the added benefit of ensuring the secrecy of our innovations and the security of the aerospace and defence projects that we develop.”