Reduced Material Weight
The pursuit of lightweight structures is one of the biggest factors for the adoption of 3D printing not only for prototyping but for final part production as well.
Unlike traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing enables engineers to design parts with intricate geometries which can dramatically reduce a part’s weight, while maintaining its strength. The reduction of weight leads to reduced material costs and fuel savings.
For instance, according to Global 3D Printing Report 2016, the Airbus A350 XWB has over 1,000 3D printed parts, resulting to 25% in fuel savings.
Improved Part Performance
With 3D printing, engineers and designers have more freedom to explore complex part designs that can deliver maximum performance.
No longer restricted by the limitations of most traditional manufacturing methods, aerospace companies are able to rethink how a certain part should perform and develop, test and validate those assumptions through rapid prototyping - another significant benefit that 3D printing provides for manufacturers.
3D printing’s process of additive manufacturing which deposits material layer by layer allows it to consolidate multiple parts into a single functional component.
This means simplification in assembly, thereby reducing the number of operations and tooling costs.