Airbus for the first time has completed the installation of a titanium 3D-printed bracket on an in-series production A350 XWB, the company announced Wednesday. The bracket, built using additive-layer manufacturing (ALM) technologies (also known as 3D printing), is part of the aircraft pylon, the junction section between its wings and engines.
Airbus calls the milestone the first step toward qualification of more complex 3D-printed parts to be installed on production aircraft.
Additive-layer manufacturing “grows” products from a fine base material powder—such as aluminium, titanium, stainless steel and plastics—by adding thin layers of material in incremental stages, which allows the production of complex components directly from computer-aided design information
3D-printed parts such as metal-printed cabin brackets and bleed pipes already fly on some of Airbus’s A320neo and A350 XWB test aircraft.