Norsk Titanium starts qualification of 3D printed production at Spirit

In advancement of a commercial agreement inked in July 2017, Norsk Titanium has initiated the qualification of the first additive manufactured part for Spirit AeroSystems (MYSE:SPR). With this move, Norsk has achieved validation for the production and industrialization of its Rapid Plasma Deposition (RPD) process.

Mike Canario, CEO of Norsk Titanium, comments, “I am very proud of the Norsk Titanium team and this accomplishment. It represents years of technology development. I also would also like to thank Spirit for this vote of confidence in the Norsk RPD™ process and capability.”

The Rapid Plasma Deposition process involving wired metal feedstock and argon gas. Image via Norsk Titanium.
Norsk’s Rapid Plasma Deposition process involved wired metal feedstock and argon gas. Photo via Norsk Titanium.

Structural 3D printed parts for the Boeing 787 

Spirit AeroSystems, the world’s largest first-tier aerostructures manufacturer, has been working on RPD 3D printing with Norsk Titanium since 2008.

In 2017, RPD 3D printed structural titanium parts achieved a gold-standard for the company attaining official approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and making the Boeing 787 Dreamliner “the first commercial airplane to fly with certified additive-manufactured titanium parts in structural applications.”

Recently, Norsk Titanium cemented its relationship with Boeing by becoming officially registered on the company’s Qualified Producers List.

The first 3D printed, structurally supportive, titanium part to be used on Boeing 787 Dreamliner reached FAA Approval in February 2017 after year in development. Photo via Norsk Titanium
The first FAA approved, 3D printed, structurally supportive, titanium part to be certified for flight on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in 2017. Photo via Norsk Titanium

3D printing takes commercial flight

Norsk also plans to integrate RPD additive manufacturing into the production of parts for Spirit’s Boeing 787 fleet, reaffirming the technology’s ability to achieve serialized production.

Through qualification, the companies will validate Spirit’s ongoing process for machining near-net shape additive manufactured parts; verify material conformity; and meet the high standards of finished parts for commercial airlines.

Ron Rabe, Senior Vice President of Fabrication and Supply Chain Management, comments, “Spirit has had a comprehensive and long relationship with Norsk Titanium, and this part will be our first additive structural titanium component incorporated into a commercial airplane program.”

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Featured image shows Norsk Titanium RPD additive manufacturing. Photo via Spirit AeroSystems