Has anyone heard about the potential of 3D printing technologies in the aerospace and defense industries? Of course you have. It is probably the largest sector to adopt 3D printing for manufacturing and rapid prototyping and it is the one that can save the most time and money from adopting it for these applications. After all, planes are very large and complex, there are not as many to make as cars, they cost a lot, and, when you are flying 30.000 ft in the air at 900 mph, optimized weight of component parts makes a huge difference in fuel consumption.
That is probably why 3D printing is going to be a major feature at the upcoming Aerodef Manufacturing Summit and Exposition, the biggest event in the world for aerospace and defense. During the past year in particular, 3D printing in the aerospace industry has been the focus of many articles on 3DPI and many other news channels: Sigma Labs’ extended partnership with Honeywell Aerospace, all the news from the Additive/Aerospace Summit in LA last October, Oxford Performance Materials new aerospace component facility in South Windsor, CT, USA, and as recently as last week, the Royal Air Force Tornado fighter jets built by BAE flying with end use 3D printed parts.
Now, however, the airplane industry is starting to take 3D printing even more seriously. So much so that its technologies are no longer confined to additive manufacturing specific conferences but they are going to be a major attraction at an event that represents the world of aerospace and defense manufacturing. To give you an idea of how big this actually is, the keynote speaker for the show will be Gerould Young, who leads a team of 1,000 engineers and scientists as director of Materials & Manufacturing Technology at Boeing Research & Technology. He will discuss the “lure of new materials and the corresponding reality of manufacturing at rate and cost”, something everyone in the 3D printing industry will certainly be very curious to hear about.
Organized by SME, the conference will open on February 25th at the Long Beach (CA) Convention Center. Examples of 3D printing apps in aerospace manufacturing will be on display at the 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing Resource Center at booth 339, to show the potential of major additive technologies such as stereolithography, laser sintering and deposition modeling. Two sessions, presented by author and consultant Todd Grimm, will cover the basics of what manufacturers need to know and how to incorporate the technology. Attendees can also register for technical sessions to learn more about adopting additive manufacturing, something that, considering the weight in dollars they are likely to (figuratively) carry along, the big 3D printing companies will probably find as useful as participating themselves.