Senior Aerospace BWT sees savings of up to 75% on certain 3D printed aircraft parts

UK-based Senior Aerospace BWT has installed 2 industrial-grade Stratasys FDM Fortus 450mc 3D printers for in-house manufacturing of 3D printed interior aircraft parts for its customers.

Having prior experience in additive manufacturing since 10 years ago, BTW had first gotten acquainted with Stratasys FDM printing for aircraft interior parts via a service bureau over four years ago.

Through the collaboration, BWT delivered its first duct incorporating a 3D printed part for flight use on regional flights in 2018. Since then, the company has produced hundreds of lightweight, flight-ready parts often with highly complex geometries. The success led to BTW deciding to have its own in-house 3D printing capability with the 450mc.

With a global customer base covering regional, military, private jet, and rotorcraft markets, BWT is focused on producing components that can be used in low pressure air ducting systems and air handling in aircraft interiors.

In many cases, minimum order quantities for off-the-shelf aluminum parts make traditional manufacturing simply unviable when we may only need a handful for one aircraft.

If you add to that the small, complex geometries of some parts, it just does not warrant the cost and time to CNC machine them in aluminum.Darren Butterworth, CEO at Senior Aerospace BWT

Key to the company’s success has been Stratasys’ aerospace-grade materials such as ULTEM 9085 resin, which meets more stringent test criteria and retains material traceability required by the aerospace industry. 

Possessing a unique high strength-to-weight ratio, ULTEM 9085 has aerospace-grade clearance for its flame resistance, and low levels of smoke and toxicity when it burns.

Since installation, BWT has seen significant savings in terms of component weight, cost and lead-time when using Stratasys FDM-based additive manufacturing in place of traditionally sourced aluminum.

(Photos: Senior Aerospace BWT)

For certain parts, savings are as much as 75% – particularly for small order quantities. 

Looking ahead, BTW is looking to expand into the automotive and defense industries by installing additional 450mc 3D printers for more fluid conveyance product development and manufacturing processes.

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