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)

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