GKN Aerospace Reaps Benefits of 3D PrinterSeptember 7, 2018
GKN Aerospace’s investment in a Stratasys F900 production 3D printer at its Filton, UK, manufacturing site is paying off in multiple ways for the global tier-one supplier of airframe and engine structures. According to Tim Hope, GKN’s additive manufacturing center manager, the company decided to invest in the printer as part of an effort to cut lead times for production-line tools, and to create complex parts, impossible to make with traditional manufacturing methods.
“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,” says Hope. “We can now cost-effectively produce tools for our operators within three hours,” rather than several weeks.
“This saves critical production time,” Hope continues, “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.”GKN reportedly serves more than 90 percent of the world’s aircraft and engine manufacturers.
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