3D-Printed Titanium Structural Components Heading to Boeing
Ian Wright posted on April 11, 2017 |
787 Dreamliner to fly with FAA-certified parts made with additive manufacturing.
Norsk Titanium's MERKE IV Rapid Plasma Deposition machine producing the world's first FAA-approved, 3D-printed titanium structural components for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. (Image courtesy of Norsk Titanium.)
Norsk Titanium's MERKE IV Rapid Plasma Deposition machine producing the world's first FAA-approved, 3D-printed titanium structural components for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. (Image courtesy of Norsk Titanium.)
Metal additive manufacturing in the aerospace industry isn’t just for fuel nozzles any more.

Norsk Titanium AS, a supplier of additive-manufactured titanium components, recently announced that it has received a production purchase order for 3D-printed titanium structural components from Boeing.

The parts are being produced using Norsk’s proprietary wire-based Rapid Plasma Deposition (RPD) process. Boeing designed the components, collaborating with Norsk over the course of development.

Titanium components for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner after emerging from the MERKE IV RPD machine ready for finish machining. (Image courtesy of Norsk Titanium.)
Titanium components for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner after emerging from the MERKE IV RPD machine ready for finish machining. (Image courtesy of Norsk Titanium.)
To certify these structural components on Boeing’s Dreamliner 787, the two companies undertook a rigorous testing program with FAA certification deliverables, which was completed this past February. Norsk Titanium is the first supplier for Boeing’s high deposition rate material specification.

“We are proud to take this historic step with a great aerospace innovator like Boeing,” said Norsk Titanium’s president and CEO, Warren M. Boley, Jr. “The Norsk Titanium team will continue to expand the portfolio of components supplied to Boeing meeting stringent certification requirements. It is an honor to earn FAA approval for these structural parts.”

A Norsk Titanium scientist displays a Boeing 787 Dreamliner structural component to demonstrate the near-net-shape RPD buy-to-fly ratio. (Image courtesy of Norsk Titanium.)
A Norsk Titanium scientist displays a Boeing 787 Dreamliner structural component to demonstrate the near-net-shape RPD buy-to-fly ratio. (Image courtesy of Norsk Titanium.)
“We are always looking at the latest technologies to drive cost reduction, performance and value to our customers,” said John Byrne, vice president of airplane materials, structures and supplier management at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “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, June 19-25, 2017 at Norsk Titanium’s booth, along with a full-scale mock-up of the company’s MERKE IV Rapid Plasma Deposition machine, which produced the pioneering structural parts.

For more information, visit the websites for Boeing and Norsk Titanium.

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