The aerospace industry is characterized by small quantities, the highest safety requirements and, more than almost any other industry, by the need to save weight. Every reduced kilogram of weight saves up to 3 kg of CO2 - and that on a daily basis. Moreover, the short-term supply of spare parts is quite challenging. That is why aerospace industry is ideal for the introduction of components that are topologically optimized and manufactured by 3D printing processes. For more than 10 years, parts have been converted from conventional design and manufacturing to additive processes. The results are clear: components become lighter, smaller and may even integrate more functions.
Nevertheless, the conversion process is progressing slowly. There are several reasons, starting first and foremost with the demand for maximum safety. With existing design and production processes, all necessary qualifications are available for the required safety of components. For 3D printing, unfortunately, we are still at the beginning and, therefore, invest a lot of time and energy in process qualifications. We have to ensure that the internal structures and the surfaces meet all the requirements for permanent, safe operations. In parallel, we are, of course, continuing to work on optimizing the processes, on new material combinations and design processes, because we are certain that 3D printing will be indispensable for the climate-neutral aircraft of the future.