Materialise & Proponent aim to make 3D printing more accessible for aerospace MROs

Materialise has partnered with aircraft part distributor Proponent to explore how 3D printing could help aerospace OEMs.

The companies envision a digital supply chain that enables on-demand manufacturing, with 3D printing being ‘brought into the procurement domain’ to make the technology increasingly accessible for MROs to source 3D printed parts.

Through its traditional distribution services to airlines, MROs, OEMs and inventory management solutions, Proponent ships 54 million parts per year to 6,000 customers in more than 100 countries. Most of these components serve the aftermarket, with parts going into engines, cockpits and cabins. By aligning with Materialise, who itself manufactures 700 part series per year for diverse aerospace customers, Proponent is now looking to set up a one-stop solution for aftermarket parts produced with 3D printing and traditional technologies.

“3D printing represents an opportunity to help our OEM and Supplier Partner to become more efficient in their supply chains and complements our stocking distribution model,” commented Andrew Todhunter, Proponent CEO. “Producing customised parts or small production runs through AM gives us an opportunity to source on-demand, sustainably, and avoid high minimum order quantities. Our customers get what they need, when they need it, and OEMs avoid the cost and risks that come with manufacturing these parts.”

In its service to aircraft OEMs, MROs and supplier tiers, Materialise has racked up deep expertise in the aerospace market. It has delivered an estimated 26,000 parts per year for the Airbus A350 system and utilises two 3D printing technologies to serve the aviation leader, becoming the first supplier to be qualified by Airbus to produce laser sintered parts under its Airbus Process Specification AIPS 03-07-022 in May

“Open solutions and a collaborative approach have always been crucial to Materialise,” added Materialise CTO Bart Van der Schueren. “Today, we are excited to combine our capabilities as an EASA 21.G-certified production organisation with Proponent’s reach and central position in the aerospace supply chain. This brings 3D printing technology right in the comfort zone of the aerospace industry’s well-established supply chains.”

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