Aerospace

Arconic announces multiple aerospace deals, Lockheed Martin joint development agreement

3D printing news about the aerospace sector is set to dominate the agenda this week as the Farnborough International Airshow gets underway. GE Additive and GKN have already made announcements, and now a batch of news from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based Arconic has just been announced.

Lockheed Martin and Arconic sign Joint Development Agreement

A freshly inked deal between Lockheed Martin and Arconic aims to develop “customized lightweight material systems and advanced manufacturing processes, such as metal 3D printing, to advance current and next-generation aerospace and defense solutions—including new structures and systems not currently in existence.”

3D Printing Industry readers will recall how Arconic is focused on industrializing metal 3D printing, specifically looking at the production of aerospace components on a large-scale. This has seen Arconic use metal additive manufacturing to produce fuselage parts for Airbus and make a $60 million investment in developing metal powder production facilities.

The new Joint Development Agreement sets out how over a two-year period Lockheed Martin and Arconic will work together on advanced materials and manufacturing for aerospace.

3D printed brackets for the Juno mission. Photo by Michael Petch.
3D printed brackets for the Lockheed Juno mission. Photo by Michael Petch.

Rod Makoske, Lockheed Martin SVP of Corporate Engineering, Technology and Operations, said, “At Lockheed Martin, we are relentlessly finding ways to develop materials that create state-of-the-art advanced capabilities, reduce waste and generate efficiencies in manufacturing practices.”

“Collaborating with Arconic will help us uncover new ideas for materials development where traditional practices aren’t suitable, investigate more sustainable material compositions and find ways to produce materials more effectively.”

In the past Arconic has supplied Lockheed Martin with range of aerospace components. These include products for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, spanning engine to airframe, and also metal additive manufactured components used on NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

Ray Kilmer, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Arconic, “We have a long history of innovative collaboration with Lockheed Martin across multiple platforms—from single-piece forged bulkheads for the F-35 to 3D printed parts for the Orion spacecraft—and we are pleased to expand on that relationship with this new agreement.”

 “Lockheed is always innovating, and it is a privilege to apply our materials and manufacturing expertise to help them deliver their next generation of cutting-edge products.”

An Arconic-designed, optimized aerospace bracket. Photo via Arconic.
An Arconic-designed, optimized aerospace bracket. Photo via Arconic.

A day of aerospace news from Arconic

In 2017, Arconic reported revenues greater than $5b billion for their aerospace business. In addition to the Lockheed Martin news, the company has made several other announcements.

Other news from Arconic today see the signing of the company’s longest contract to date with Boeing. The multi-year deal extends the previous business relationship whereby the two companies collaborate on the production of wing skins, polished fuselage skins and wing ribs for metallic structure airplanes. Additionally Arconic will now supply Boeing with material for airplanes based on carbon fiber platforms, for example the 787 and 777X.

“This agreement demonstrates Arconic’s commitment to deliver quality and innovation to our customers,” said Tim Myers, President of Arconic Global Rolled Products and Transportation and Construction Solutions. “We’re proud of our more than 40 years of collaboration with Boeing, and we look forward to playing a role in their continued success.”

Furthermore, a new titanium alloy for high temperature aerospace applications was announced. The material is called ARCONIC-THOR and is “nearly 50 percent lighter than incumbent nickel-based superalloys.”

“ARCONIC-THOR is a breakthrough aerospace material that goes where conventional titanium alloys cannot,” said Jeremy Halford, President, Arconic Engineered Structures. “Next generation fuel-efficient aero engines are running hotter, presenting a materials challenge for the exhaust systems and adjacent structures. Drawing on our materials science expertise, our engineers formulated ARCONIC-THOR—a powerful titanium solution that can take the heat and unlock significant weight and cost savings for our customers.”

3D Printing Industry will be at the Farnborough International Airshow all week. Get in touch if you’d like to talk about industrial 3D printing in the aerospace sector.

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Featured image shows Arconic additive manufacturing. Photo by Michael Petch.

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