Boeing 787 Dreamliner to feature 3D-printed titanium components
Norsk Titanium AS, one of the world’s most advanced supplier of structural titanium components, announced it has received a production purchase order for 3D-printed structural titanium components from Boeing that are being produced by Norsk’s proprietary Rapid Plasma Deposition (RPD) process.
Boeing designed four components and collaborated closely with Norsk Titanium throughout the development process. To certify the initial structural components on the Dreamliner, Boeing and Norsk Titanium undertook a rigorous testing program with Federal Aviation Administration certification deliverables completed in February 2017.
Strong, lightweight titanium alloy is seven times more expensive than aluminum, and accounts for about US$ 17 million of the cost of a US$ 265 million Dreamliner, according to experts.
Boeing has been trying to reduce titanium costs on the 787, which requires more of the metal than other models because of its carbon-fiber fuselage and wings. The use of 3D-printed titanium components will lead to US$ 2 million to US$ 3 million in savings for each Dreamliner, according to Chip Yates, Norsk Titanium’s vice president of marketing.
“From the outset, the 787 has been the hallmark of innovation and efficiency,” said in a statement John Byrne, vice president, Airplane Materials and Structures, Supplier Management, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We are always looking at the latest technologies to drive cost reduction, performance and value to our customers and Norsk Titanium’s RPD capability fits the bill in a new and creative way.”
The Dreamliner RPD components will be on display at the International Paris Airshow, Le Bourget June 19-25, 2017 at Norsk Titanium’s booth in Hall 1, Space H299, along with a full-scale mock-up of the company’s patented MERKE IV Rapid Plasma Deposition machine that produced the pioneering structural parts.
Norsk will print the components in Norway initially, but aims to have nine printers running in New York by the end of 2017.
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