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Polymer-Based AM Solutions for Aeronautics Now a Main Focus at AERNNOVA R&D

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Spanish tier 1 Airbus supplier will unveil reveal new solutions implementing polymer powder bed fusion technologies at IN3DUSTRY Conference.

With a global workforce of of 4,300 employees, including over 1,000 engineers, Spain-based AERNNOVA is one of the largest tier 1 suppliers for the civil aviation industry. The company has long been studying the possible solutions that additive manufacturing (which in the aerospace industry is usually referred to as additive layer manufacturing or ALM) can offer even for production of large and safety critical parts. As Dr. Miguel Á. Castillo Acero, VP Technology Development AERNNOVA exclusively anticipated, the company is now concentrating much of its R&D efforts on polymer AM/ALM solutions.

As Dr. Castillo Acero will illustrate in details at the upcoming IN(3D)USTRY conference in Barcelona next October 3-5th, this can lead to several new applications for a company such as AERNNOVA, which – as a primary Airbus Tier 1 supplier – is one of the most technologically advanced manufacturer of large composite, metal and polymer structures for the civil aviation industry.

We feel that additive manufacturing of metal, composites and polymers are all very relevant in the aeronautics industry however at this time we are focusing primarily on polymers,” Dr. Castillo Acero explains. “At the upcoming IN3DUSTRY conference we will be providing relevant technology developments on an ALM demonstrator for specific aeronautics application, as well as other ongoing research projects all involving implementation of polymer AM in the aerospace manufacturing production workflow.”

Castillo Acero confirms that use of AM has been growing significantly at AERNNOVA in recent year. Last year the company launched the ADDIFLY project focused on the design and manufacturing of aeronautical metallic components by Selective Laser Melting (SLM).

The project was funded and supported under the European Union’s FEDER-INTERCONNECTA 2015 call through the “Operational Programme Smart Growth 2014-2020” and the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of the Spanish Government through the CDTI (Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology).

ADDIFLY focused primarily on the reduction of weight and manufacturing cost of highly complex metallic sub-assemblies through the use of additive manufacturing technologies. One important aspect that was also considered within and alongside direct AM part production was the process for welding parts manufactured by SLM. In particular this project is tackling the use of SLM technology for the leading edge of a wing type structure.

In addition to the direct benefits of reducing weight and parts costs, Aernnova intends to position itself as a reference supplier for the design and manufacture of metallic as well as also polymer components by additive manufacturing with design resulting from topological optimizations.

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