3D Printing in the Aerospace Industry

In the article “Factory of the Future: New Ways of Manufacturing” (http://www.airbusgroup.com/int/en/story-overview/factory-of-the-future.html) the changes and improvements in manufacturing are explored with a specific emphasis on how 3D printing can add to the new and innovative model of “smart manufacturing” within the aerospace industry. The article articulates that Airbus Group has “started using ALM for tooling, prototyping, making parts for test flights and also for parts that will fly on commercial aircraft.” It also states that components produced through ALM are starting to be used in different aircraft ranging from the next-generation A350 XWB to in-service jetliners from the A300/A310 division. Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM), or 3D printing, are being heavily utilized because of their ability to “produce prototypes and series components, potentially delivering cheaper and lighter parts.” The article finishes with the quote, “3D printing is the dream of any engineer. You have an idea, you print overnight and the next morning you have a new part in your hands.” How can 3D printing use be expanded in the aerospace industry? Will it become feasible for 3D printing to be used in other industries as well? What are some of the difficulties in implementing this technology?

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