Inside Logistics

Airbus buying large scale metal 3D printer

Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) will help aircraft manufacturer save time and cost on production of large titanium structural parts

December 14, 2016

CHICAGO, Illinois—Airbus will take delivery this month of an Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) 110 System from Sciaky, Inc, a provider of metal additive manufacturing (AM) solutions.

The aircraft manufacturer will use the metal 3D printing system to produce large structural parts made of titanium.

Sciaky’s EBAM process combines computer-aided design (CAD), additive manufacturing processing principles, and an electron beam heat source.

Starting with a 3D model from a CAD program, Sciaky’s fully-articulated, moving electron beam gun deposits metal via wire feedstock, layer by layer, until the part reaches near-net shape. From there, the near-net shape part requires heat treatment and post-production machining. In the end, there is minimal material waste.

The wire feedstock can include a wide variety of metals and refractory alloys, such as titanium, tantalum, niobium, tungsten, Inconel, and stainless steels.

“Sciaky is very proud to partner with a world-class innovator like Airbus,” said Bob Phillips, Vice President of Marketing for Sciaky, Inc. “We all know that metal 3D printing technology is going to revolutionize manufacturing in the aerospace industry, and Sciaky is committed to being at the forefront of this movement.”

Sciaky’s lineup of EBAM systems can produce parts ranging from 8 inches (203 mm) to 19 feet (5.79 meters) in length. EBAM is also the fastest deposition process in the metal additive manufacturing market, with gross deposition rates ranging from 7 to 20 lbs. (3.18 to 9.07 kg) of metal per hour.

3D printing is widely believed to be a disruptive technology for supply chains, as it means companies like Airbus can manufacture on the assembly site, avoiding costly transportation of large parts.