Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is moving forward with its use of 3-D printing in its production system.
The French aircraft giant announced a range of new contracts Oct. 13, including a move to standardize use of Stratasys Ltd.'s ULTEM 9085 resin in 3-D printed parts and purchasing of composites from Hexcel.
The agreement with Stratasys, based in Minneapolis and Rehovot, Israel, will help lower manufacturing costs and production time.
Stratasys Europe, Middle East and Africa region President Andy Middleton, said: “In 2014, Airbus produced a significant amount of parts on its Stratasys FDM-based 3-D printers for use in new A350 XWB aircraft, enabling Airbus to meet delivery commitments on-time.
“We are pleased to support Airbus as they industrialize the inclusion of Stratasys 3-D printed parts in the A350 XWB production supply chain, ensuring that suppliers will be able to support continued scheduled aircraft deliveries.”
Hexcel also announced that two key contracts to supply advanced composites to Airbus Group have been confirmed. The firm expected these contracts to generate total sales of $15 billion for the duration of the contract.
The existing contract relating to Hexcel products supplied for commercial aircraft, helicopters, space and military programs has been amended.
Specific commercial programs covered include the A350 XWB secondary structures, the A380, the A320 and A330 family, and ATR commercial aircraft. The NH90, Tiger and EC135 helicopter programs are also included, as are the A400M military transporter and Ariane launch vehicle. Hexcel supplies a wide range of composite materials for these programmes including fabrics, resins, prepregs and adhesives.
A second contract to supply HexPly M21E/IMA carbon fiber prepreg for the primary structures of the Airbus A350XWB aircraft has been extended through 2030.
Hexcel chairman Nick Stanage, said: “As an advanced composites industry leader, we are extremely proud to continue our long and rewarding partnership with the Airbus Group and are excited to take our relationship to a new level.
“The contract amendments and extensions are the result of years of product innovation, operational excellence and hard work by Hexcel employees and our partners. We look forward to our continued partnership with Airbus Group to develop innovative solutions to maintain their competitive objectives.”