Airbus Helicopters, Donauwörth, Germany, which manufactures the doors for all Airbus aircraft programmes, has begun production of latch shafts for the doors of the Airbus A350 passenger aircraft using metal Additive Manufacturing.
The latch shafts are made in titanium on an EOS M 400-4 system in batches of twenty-eight per build. The resulting parts are reported to be 45% lighter and 25% cheaper to produce than traditional latch shafts; as each A350 has sixteen latch shafts, the result is a saving of just over 4 kg per aircraft. Airbus Helicopters stated that it plans to deliver 2,200 components a year once production is fully operational. Qualification is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2018, with serial production starting in early 2019; the first additively manufactured A350 components are expected to begin service in active aircraft in 2020.
Airbus Helicopters added that it has begun preparations to produce an even larger group of A350 door components using Additive Manufacturing, and also expects to use the technology in the production of future helicopter components.
(Source: Metal AM_Vol.4_N°3)