Stratasys is deepening its partnership with Boom Supersonic, the Colorado-based company building what will be the world’s fastest supersonic airliner.
In signing a seven-year agreement extension, the companies are further “accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing for 3-D printed flight hardware”.
Boom Supersonic is using a Stratasys F900 3-D printer with the Aircraft Interiors Solution (AIS) package to create hundreds of 3-D printed parts for XB-1, its supersonic demonstrator aircraft.
The AIS package is aimed at helping to improve mechanical properties; it enables the repeatable development of aircraft production parts.
Mike Jagemann, head of XB-1 production at Boom, said: “By being able to print critical parts and components on site rather than purchasing them from a supplier, we can create custom parts, reduce the time from engineering to manufacturing, and focus on building the aircraft and fulfilling our vision.
“During the first three years of our partnership, we have 3-D printed more than 200 parts for tooling, prototypes and test benches, using Stratasys F370 and Fortus 450mc 3-D printers.
“We have been able to save hundreds of hours of work time and achieve the rapid iteration of design cycles.”
The new agreement is designed to integrate FDM (fused deposition modelling) 3-D printing technology into flight part production for XB-1, and eventually for Overture — the Mach-2.2 commercial airliner.
Rich Garrity, president (Americas) at Stratasys, said: “The development of aircraft that can safely and efficiently travel at Mach 2.2 requires a new approach to manufacturing processes.
“Working together, our teams have put the technology to work for efficient, reliable and repeatable prototypes, tooling and jigs and fixtures.
“Now, we’re ready to go further — for strong, durable, lightweight production-grade aircraft parts.”
XB-1 is expected to be rolled out later this year and flown supersonically in 2020.
Overture is in the development stage, with consumer travel expected to commence in the mid-2020s.