French-based STELIA uses WAAM 3D printer for large-scale fuselage panel
The company designed a demonstrator for metallic self-reinforced fuselage panels that includes stiffeners directly manufactured on the surface through additive manufacturing.
The company designed a demonstrator for metallic self-reinforced fuselage panels that includes stiffeners directly manufactured on the surface through additive manufacturing. Eventually, this new technique will be used in replace of affixing the stiffeners using fixing screws and welding.
The demonstrator, which measures 1 sq. meter, was manufactured using a robotic tool, through the deposit of aluminium wire merged by electric arc (WAAM – Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing). It presents a new disruptive design for panel stiffeners, derived from the fuselage topological optimisation studies which have been carried out by STELIA Aerospace and CT Ingénierie since several years.
With support from Constellium and Ecole Centrale de Nantes, STELIA Aerospace is currently studying how AM can be used in production, where material is added by deposit instead of being removed by machining. The company is also exploring topological optimisation studies associated to 3D print demonstrators for elementary parts (such as fittings), large dimension parts (frames) and large sub-assemblies.
The project was done in partnership with Constellium, Centrale Nantes and CT Ingénierie, in the scope of the collaborative R & T project DEFACTO (DEveloppement de la Fabrication Additive pour Composant TOpologique).