Metal 3D printing: Airbus selects printing by electron beam

In his race against Boeing to produce the most airliner, Airbus put on innovation. Among the means of production mobilised by the European aircraft manufacturer, robotics and 3D printing. In recent years Airbus getting stronger on additive manufacturing technologies to produce plastic parts and metal parts now. Like many manufacturers, Airbus has invested technology SLM (Selective Laser Melting) but, since last December a new technology to joined the Airbus arsenal: printing by electron beam.

3D printing to make large structure parts

Sciaky American just announced installed one of its printer 3D at a reputable customer, Airbus. Unlike the SLM printers that heat of the metal powder with a laser, the 110 Sciaky EBAM melted a wire through a beam of electrons. A technology in a straight line with the techniques of welding at the origin of the company. Sciaky developed EBAM ( Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing) technology in 2009 and it was used for the first time by Lockheed Martin Space Systems to produce rocket titanium tanks. Most recently Lockheed Martin has selected this technology to produce pieces of structure of F-35 fighter jet.

As the rival SLM, EBAM technology to produce various metals, including stainless steel parts and especially the titanium and Inconel, popular metals for aircraft manufacturers. According to the figures by Sciaky, its technology would be much faster than solutions to pressing metal powders.

an element of structure such as Airbus will produce through his Sciaky EBAM 110 3D printer. (Photo: Sciaky)

The constructor of the EBAM 110 evokes an impression at the rate of 3.18 to 9.07 kg per hour. According to the figures by the manufacturer, its technology offers a pace much faster than printing SLM printing, but also the EBM which combines beams of electrons and metal powder.

Sciaky coupled his printing system a video camera that analyzes real-time printing and adjusts the settings to maintain as uniform as possible print quality.

Another advantage of this 3D printer, it is capable of producing large-sized parts. Airbus will use this machine to produce structure of big dimension parts whose size can reach 5.79 meters in length. The manufacturer introduced a spar which prefigures what Airbus expects its EBAM 110. We know that, in 2017, Airbus must begin incorporating metal pieces made in 3D in its Airbus A350 printing. There is no doubt that some of come in they will be produced by beams of electrons.

Source: “Sciaky to Deliver Large, Industrial-Scale Metal 3D Printer to Airbus”, press release Sciaky, December 13, 2016

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