Stratasys, one of the largest 3D printing companies in the world announced in an official release that GKN Aerospace has improved production times and eliminated design constraints for multiple tooling applications after integrating Stratasys’ F900 additive manufacturing system at its Filton manufacturing site in the UK.
GKN, a global engineering company serves more than 90 percent of aircraft and engine manufacturers around the world with aerostructures, engine systems and technologies.
Providing details of how integrating additive manufacturing system helped the company reduce production line downtime, Tim Hope, Additive Manufacturing Center Manager at GKN Aerospace said, “Since integrating the F900, we have dramatically reduced production-line downtime for certain teams and are enjoying a new found freedom to design complex tools.”
“We can now cost-effectively produce tools for our operators within three hours. This saves critical production time, and by printing in engineering-grade thermoplastics, we can produce 3D printed tools with repeatable, predictable quality every time. All while matching the quality of a traditionally-produced tool, and reducing the costs and concessions compared to equivalent metallic tooling,” added Hope.
In addition to reducing production line downtime, GKN Aerospace has also been reporting unprecedented levels of design freedom since investing in the Stratasys F900 into its operations. For example, as Hope points out, “One of the key benefits of additive manufacturing is the creative freedom this technology affords users, adds Hope.
“The F900 offers the largest build-size of any FDM 3D printer enabling us to rapidly produce tools to meet any requirements. Most notably, complex geometries and cavities that would otherwise be problematic are now practical with the F900. We’re utilising it to design, and 3D print, previously inconceivable tools that enable us to manufacture complex parts that are uneconomical or just physically impossible by other methods”, Hope further adds.
Apart from experiencing design freedom, the company has also been able to bring about a reduction of 40 percent in material waste.
GKN Aerospace is also anticipating towards using FDM additive manufacturing to produce high-value, flight-critical, end-use composite parts.
“GKN Aerospace’s product range is vast, and we see large-scale FDM and carbon-reinforced parts as the future of additive manufacturing in aerospace. By using Stratasys additive manufacturing for tooling, we are harnessing a machine that offers us the freedom to produce unique and complex tools of any size, with the build quality to match any manufacturing requirement. All while simultaneously preparing ourselves for the future,” concluded Hope.
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