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New partnership to ‘drive 3-D printing for aviation’

Posted on 09 Jul 2024. Edited by: Colin Granger. Read 427 times.
New partnership to ‘drive 3-D printing for aviation’The global 3-D printing company Stratasys Ltd and Latvia-based AM Craft — which operates on four continents, and serves a global customer base in the aviation industry — have announced that they are ‘partnering to align the two companies’ efforts to grow the demand for flight-certified 3-D printed parts in the aviation industry’. The companies signed a definitive commercial collaboration agreement, along with Stratasys’ ‘strategic investment’ in AM Craft.

Jeff Hemenway, Stratasys’ senior vice president, said: “Holding an EASA Part 21G Production Organization Approval, AM Craft solves a key barrier to the broader adoption of 3-D printed parts in the aviation industry by delivering airworthiness certified parts to airlines, MROs, and OEMs. Additive manufacturing has strong appeal as a supply chain solution in these markets due to the long sustainment life of aircraft and the resulting challenges in forecasting and stocking replacement parts.

“The low-volume high-mix nature of the aviation aftermarket has resulted in extreme challenges to supply even the most minor of parts necessary to keep global fleets flying. Additive manufacturing (AM) addresses those challenges by cost-effectively producing at the rates and volumes required. AM Craft’s EASA-approved approach to certification takes this burden off the end customer; and to facilitate the company’s partnership with Stratasys I will be joining the AM Craft board of directors.”

AM Craft currently produces aviation components in Europe and has ‘demonstrated the ability’ to extend its ‘Production Organisation Approval’ to Paradigm 3D, a partner company in Dubai. Meanwhile, Stratasys currently engages in certified aviation parts manufacturing through Additive Flight Solutions (AFS), a subsidiary in Singapore. In structuring this partnership, AM Craft will own and operate AFS, further extending AM Craft’s production network to Southeast Asia, and add a Hamburg facility later this year.

The combined network operates 13 printers under EASA 21G approval, which have produced more than 28,000 flight parts to date. A future step within the partnership will be to evaluate collaboration with US-based Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, which has a substantial ‘installed base of similar equipment’.