3-D Printing Re-stocks BAE Systems RJ Part

Additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, is slowly but surely beginning to make its mark in the aviation business. While some envision wholesale changes in the way parts are manufactured, the practical applications are, so far at least, tied to specific needs or opportunities, as this recent piece from colleague Graham Warwick illustrates.

Another example of this is BAE Systems Regional Aircraft, which turned to additive manufacturing to stock up on a small but important part that was no longer feasible for the original supplier to make. Colleague Tony Osborne has the full, $ubscribers-only version of the story here, but in a nutshell, the supplier no longer had the tooling needed to make the parts--plastic breather pipes used as vents to keeps cabin windows from misting--and re-investing in it was cost-prohibitive for all. 

So BAE Systems turned to its military colleagues, who have printed some parts for use on a flight test aircraft. Working with a third-party additive manufacturer, they developed a workable and cost-effective solution, cutting lead time by several months and saving $23,000 in tooling costs. BAE Systems now has about 300 of these little gems in stock for its regional airline customers.

blog post photo
(Photo: BAE Systems)

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Things With Wings?

Aviation Week's civil aviation blog

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Jan 31, 2016

Tupolev 104: Harsh Proof Of Rapid Soviet Progress (1956) 18

Since little detail was available of the Russian design and built Tupolev 104, a profile was compiled for Aviation Week, based entirely on observations from photographs, experts such as engineers knowledgeable in typical Russian aircraft design and of its landing at London Airport....More
Jan 28, 2016

A Near View Of French Aviators (1917) 2

Some of the largest battles of the First World War were taking place in France when Aviation Week was first published....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×