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Airbus Helicopters to Incorporate Additive Manufacturing

Airbus Helicopters will use metal AM components for its helicopters and other aircraft from its Airbus parent company. Airbus Helicopters is expanding its AM capabilities with a new 3D printing (3DP) center in Donauwörth, Germany. 3DP will help reduce the weight of helicopter components according to Helmut Färber, site manager of Airbus Helicopters in Donauwörth.

Weight reduction helps aircraft operators reduce fuel consumption and lower costs. It can also help reduce CO2 emissions in flight. Airbus Helicopters will use the 3DP process to produce components for the electric-powered CityAirbus, the experimental high-speed Racer helicopter, and the Airbus A350 and A320 passenger aircraft, among others.

AM allows entire assemblies to be printed as one component, saving weight while being very stable and meeting the strict safety requirements of the aviation industry.

Airbus Helicopters uses 3D printers to manufacture structural components made of titanium and high-strength aluminum. 3DP users can also reuse unused metal powder compared to conventional manufacturing processes that require up to 10x more raw material than the final product.

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