The order represents an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars and will complement an already installed fleet of four Stratasys Fortus F450mc 3D printing systems. Together, this eight-strong FDM 3D printing capacity will be housed in a new Riga facility and help to produce certifiable 3D printed parts for a range of aircraft interior applications, including seating, panelling and ducting, to the suppliers and airlines that make up AM Craft’s customer base.
AM Craft’s Riga facility is set to open in Q4 of 2020, while this latest investment in 3D printing sees the company become one of the largest independent aerospace-focused 3D printing service bureaus in EMEA. Harnessing materials like Stratasys’ ULTEM 9085, certified to Airbus certification and used to produce thousands of parts for the A350 XWB aircraft, and working with certification company Magnetic MRO, via a collaboration with Craft AM’s sister company, Baltic 3D, the Latvian service provider is hoping to additively manufacture a host of certified aerospace components.
“In recent years, we’ve seen an ongoing demand for 3D printed production parts among major aircraft OEMs,” commented Jānis Jātnieks, co-founder and CEO of AM Craft. “Although COVID-19 has shocked the industry in the last few months, we are seeing efforts to return to business by remodelling passenger planes for cargo shipments, as well as projects to increase customer safety measures and improve the inflight customer experience – for example, by providing mobile device charging stations and Wi-Fi infrastructures. In such cases, additive is way ahead of slower and more costly traditional methods.
“One of the mainstay pillars that enables us to realise this business case into real-world applications is Stratasys’ highly-repeatable FDM-based 3D printing technology in conjunction with aerospace-grade materials like ULTEM 9085 resin. Crucially, this gives us the capability to meet strict rules and regulations around certification that require the highest level or repeatability and traceability with every part manufactured.”
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For Stratasys, it is yet another validation of its FDM 3D printing offering within the aerospace sector. The company sees the industry as one of its key vertical markets, with the likes of Diehl Aviation, Boom Supersonic and Marshall Aerospace and Defence among the users deploying additive manufacturing for interior aircraft applications.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic caused the world to re-think supply chain strategies, AM Craft was already a step ahead,” commented Yann Rageul, Director, Manufacturing Solutions at Stratasys. “The same flexibility offered by Stratasys FDM technology that allowed aerospace manufacturers to change gears and quickly produce personal protective equipment in response to supply chain shortages, is what an enable those same aerospace companies to advance their goals in cabin customisation. Both recovery from supply chain disruptions and cabin customisation require repeatable, cost-effective, low volume manufacturing and that’s exactly what AM Craft has invested in with Stratasys.”
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