Airbus to take advantage of large, industrial-scale Sciaky metal 3D printer

1 min read

A Sciaky electron beam additive manufacturing (EBAM) system is set to help Airbus save significant time and cost in the production of large titanium structural aircraft parts.

The Sciaky EBAM 110 system has been installed at an unspecified location in France, but with Airbus stated as the customer. The aerospace company has three locations in France - Toulouse, Nantes and Saint-Nazaire. The latter is where the company specialises in structural assembly, although it is Toulouse that hosts engineering design, including structure definition, as well as structure testing.

The supplied technology has a work envelope of 1,778 by 1,194 by 1,600 mm and boasts gross deposition rates that range from 3.18 to 9.07 kg of metal per hour. (Sciaky EBAM machines can produce parts ranging from 203 mm to 5.79 m length.)

The EBAM process combines CAD data, additive manufacturing and an electron beam heat source. Starting with a 3D CAD model, Sciaky's fully-articulated moving electron beam gun deposits metal via wire feedstock, layer by layer, until the part reaches near-net shape. From there, the near-net shape part requires heat treatment and post-production machining. Minimal material waste is a key advantage.

Quality and control are brought together via Sciaky’s IRISS technology - the Interlayer Real-time Imaging and Sensing System. The company claims that IRISS is the only real-time monitoring and control system in the metal 3D printing market that can sense and digitally self-adjust metal deposition with precision and repeatability. This closed-loop control is the primary reason that Sciaky's EBAM 3D printing process delivers consistent part geometry, mechanical properties, microstructure and metal chemistry, from the first part to the last, says the welding expert.

Says Bob Phillips, vice president of marketing for Sciaky Inc: “Sciaky is very proud to partner with a world-class innovator like Airbus. We all know that metal 3D printing technology is going to revolutionise manufacturing in the aerospace industry, and Sciaky is committed to being at the forefront of this movement.”