How Additive Manufacturing is Supporting Manufacturing Recovery

In this article, we explore how additive manufacturing has been crucial in supporting aerospace manufacturers recover from Covid-19 setbacks.

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How Additive Manufacturing Supports Manufacturing Recovery

Many manufacturing industries were negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The aerospace supply chain, in particular, has been disrupted, leaving many manufacturers looking for innovative solutions to get back on track.

This is why many manufacturing businesses are increasingly teaming up with additive manufacturing (3D printing) service providers. Through the additive manufacturing of functional components, interior parts and intricate elements, manufacturers are able to reduce production time, save costs and resources, and improve assembly efficiencies. This, paired with other manufacturing innovations such as bonding to support or replace traditional fastening allows sectors to reduce costs, production time and in turn optimise operations.

As a result, the additive manufacturing market is set to more than double in value in the next 5 years, reaching an estimated worth of £27 billion by 2026. In the current year of 2021, 73% of engineering manufacturers predicted that they will be incorporating more 3D printed parts into their assembly processes as compared to 2020.

Additive Manufacturing of Aerospace Parts

The correct utilisation of additive manufacturing can lead to high-quality aerospace parts certified in accordance with aviation standards.

Additive manufacturing can be used for aerospace parts comprised of materials including but not limited to:

  • PEEK
  • ABS
  • Carbon-fibre composites
  • Thermoplastics
  • Polypropylene
  • Polymers

In recent years, many notable companies have successfully launched aircraft and spacecraft incorporating 3D printed parts. Etihad Engineering, one of the key players in the aerospace industry, has formed partnerships with BigRep, Siemens, Strata Manufacturing, Baltic3D and EOS, in an attempt to ramp up its additive manufacturing capabilities. This has led to the production of 3D-printed cabin interior parts and the opening of a new additive manufacturing facility in Abu Dhabi. These developments are set to boost Etihad Engineering’s recovery rate from the pandemic.

Boeing also successfully flew its 777x jet in early 2020, which was fitted with engines fitted with 300 3D-printed parts. Airbus has also been able to incorporate 3D-printed polymer components into its new aircraft, improving their efficiency.

These are just a few examples of companies utilising additive manufacturing to enable manufacturing recovery from the pandemic setbacks.

By taking advantage of additive manufacturing technologies, manufacturers across every sector, not just aerospace, are able to boost their recovery rate. Additionally, manufacturers can introduce further innovation into their business through the utilisation of 3D printing, creating a knock-on effect of improved productivity.

One way manufacturers can properly integrate additive manufacturing into their existing processes is through the use of adhesives and sealants. These technologies are tailored to specific applications; allowing users to benefit in a range of ways, from easy application to noticeable weight reductions. Discover our full guide on how adhesives can be used in additive manufacturing processes.

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