Marshall Akins, vice-president of Aerospace Markets at Carpenter Technology, talks to FINN about the considerations an aerospace manufacturer has to think about before they embark on 3D printing.
Carpenter Technology is one of the world’s largest producers of additive manufacturing powders. The company offers engineering and support services, and print services all the way through that 3D printing process.
Akins said: “The 3D printing environment is very hot right now….and there are a lot of [companies] interested in exploring it.
“Before you can get to the place where you’re producing parts, you have to consider what materials you could use to produce on what type of machines, and you have to get a prototype.
“Then you have to get a repeatable process to prove that you can produce quality parts that are worth flying around on.”
He added: “You really have to go through an extensive process to understand the materials, the production process, the design – the whole thing – and make sure you can have quality parts produced.”
Marshall says Carpenter’s customers are already seeing many benefits from 3D printing, including improved design of parts, reduced costs, improved performance of applications and faster lead time.
He explained: “Some of the supply chains are experiencing lengthy lead times for replacement parts – of up to multiple years. Obviously, if you can just print it right there, that’s great.”