Swedish aerospace and protection firm Saab introduced on Tuesday that it has successfully carried out the trial which marked the primary time an exterior 3D-printed half has been flown on a Gripen plane, reasonably than inside 3D-printed parts.
As famous by the corporate, the aim of the trial was to check how additive manufacturing may very well be utilized in battlefield injury restore.
The take a look at flight passed off within the skies above Saab’s amenities in Linköping, Sweden, on Friday nineteenth March. Gripen was fitted with a alternative hatch that had been 3D-printed utilizing additive manufacturing, utilizing a nylon polymer referred to as PA2200. This work is a step in direction of 3D-printed spares getting used for fast repairs to fighter plane which have sustained injury whereas deployed on distant operations, thereby gaining a significant time-saving benefit.
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Since there was no 3D pc mannequin of the unique hatch, it was faraway from the plane and put in a scanner. This course of in flip enabled 3D printing of an actual copy, tailored to this particular person plane.
“Post-flight intial inspection of the hatch was very positive and showed no visual structural changes had occurred from the flight. The potential of this approach means that maintenance personnel in the field can get access to individually fitted spare parts and you no longer have to resort to emergency fixes nor cannibalise other broken-down aircraft for their parts, while also further reducing the small number of parts brought on a deployment. This also reduces the operational time lost in repairs,” says Håkan Stake, contract supervisor for help to Gripen C/D, and supervisor of the event mission.
To obtain the objective of deploying this functionality, additional testing is required alongside with agreements on materials requirements.
This milestone is the newest step in Saab’s embrace of additive manufacturing. In 2017 Saab co-founded the AMEXCI consortium for the particular goal of furthering the know-how, and Saab has been working with AMEXCI’s specialists ever since to seek out new functions and methods to supply parts and gear utilizing additive manufacturing.
“This test flight of a component with operational impact is an important step as an aircraft, including all its parts, always has to meet the tough requirements of an airworthiness process. In terms of increasing operational availability in the field, additive manufacturing will be a game changer,” says Ellen Molin, senior vice chairman and head of Saab’s enterprise space Support and Services.
The subsequent step for Håkan Stake and his staff are to have a look at different supplies to PA2200, ones which might be additionally versatile and may face up to the chilly at excessive altitudes. They may also progress a container resolution in order that printing gear will be taken on deployments.