Australian metal AM company Titomic has signed an agreement with aerospace giant Airbus through which its Titomic Kinetic Fusion (TKF) technology will be used to demonstrate high-performance metal parts for the European aircraft manufacturer. By developing TKF AM parts process parameters and material properties for Airbus, Titomic is taking a significant step in the validation of its AM process for aerospace applications.
“We are pleased to partner with Airbus for this initial aerospace part made with Titomic Kinetic Fusion (TKF), the world’s largest and fastest industrial-scale metal additive manufacturing process,” said Titomic CEO Jeff Lang. “The TKF process [is] ideally suited to produce near-net shape metal parts for the aerospace industry using our patented process of fusing dissimilar metals that cannot be produced with either traditional fabrication methods or metal-based 3D printers.”
Airbus is a keen adopter of additive manufacturing technology: the aircraft manufacturer installed its first 3D printer in 2012 and made headlines when it integrated its first 3D printed metal part, a titanium bracket, into a commercial jetliner in 2014. Today, the company’s aircraft integrate over 1,000 3D printed parts.
Titomic will produce a series of demonstrator parts using its TKF process and will dispatch them to Airbus. From there, the aircraft manufacturer will undertake a technology review process of the printed aerospace parts. The partnership signals a step forward in the extensive certification process conducted by Titomic’s co-funded Australian Government’s IMCRC project with partners CSIRO and RMIT. Titomic believes its process could disrupt spare parts production in the aerospace industry.
Lang added: “3D printing, of which TFK is the leading technology, has the potential to be a game changer post the global COVID-19 pandemic supply chain disruption as aircraft manufacturers look to reduce production costs, increase performance, improve supply chain flexibility and reduce inventory costs, and TKF, co-developed with the CSIRO, can be an integral part of this change. Regulations force aerospace manufacturers to provide spare parts for long periods after the sale of an aircraft, so it’s not rocket science to assume they will be early adopters of 3D printing solutions for spare-part management.”
Titomic has made significant investments in developing AM to progress towards a comprehensive design, material and process qualification system required for the aerospace industry. The qualification system will follow standards set by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).