Airbus and Arconic Inc. have installed a metal additively manufactured titanium bracket on a series production aircraft. The bracket, which is being produced at Arconic’s Additive Manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, USA, is installed on the Airbus A350 XWB, the company’s newest widebody commercial aircraft.
While airplane makers have been using Additive Manufacturing for some time, until recently this has primarily been for components inside the cabin. Equipping the airframes themselves with metal AM parts is a newer field.
In addition, the bracket’s installation on a series production commercial airplane, as opposed to a test airplane, marks a significant step forward in the qualification of more complex metal AM parts for production aircraft. While metal additively manufactured cabin brackets and bleed pipes are already flying on Airbus’s A320neo and A350 XWB test aircraft, this reportedly marks the first installation of a titanium additively manufactured bracket on a commercial aircraft for series production.
Jeremy Halford, President of Arconic Titanium and Engineered Products, commented, “Arconic is proud to partner with Airbus to advance aerospace Additive Manufacturing. Our comprehensive capabilities, from materials science leadership to qualification expertise, helped make this achievement possible. We look forward to continuing to advance the art of the possible in additive for aerospace.”
This AM titanium bracket is the latest product of Airbus and Arconic’s ongoing partnership, which was founded in December 2016 with the signing of three agreements for Arconic to produce titanium and nickel additively manufactured parts for commercial aircraft, including the A320 platform and A350 XWB.