Autodesk has partnered with a Michigan foundry in a 3D printing proof-of-concept challenge that resulted in a new magnesium commercial airline seat frame so mild it may save an airline greater than $200 million in gas prices.
Autodesk used its Netfabb 3D design software to supply a posh geometric mannequin for a brand new plane passenger seat body simply as robust as a standard seat, however vastly lighter.
The CAD program created a file used to 3D print in plastic the seat body, which was then coated in ceramic materials and heated to a excessive temperature to evaporate the interior plastic.
The remaining ceramic mildew was then utilized by Aristo Cast, a Michigan foundry, to fabricate a magnesium seat body that weighs 766 grams, 56% lighter than the standard 1,672-gram aluminum seats in use at this time.
Whereas laser sintering, one other 3D printing methodology, presents the flexibility to create objects with dozens of metals, it’s gradual in comparison with metallic casting, which might use hundreds of metals or composite supplies.
Moreover, 3D printing is restricted to the comparatively small dimension of a print beds – only some toes in dimension — even in industrial machines. Conventional metallic casting has practically limitless manufacturing scalability.
With the ensuing ceramic mildew, Aristo Solid confirmed it may make as much as 160 of the magnesium airplane seats each two days.
Autodesk and Aristo Solid declare that if an plane maker corresponding to Airbus have been to interchange all 615 seats on its A380 jets with the brand new, lighter magnesium seat frames — throughout a fleet of 100 planes which generally have a 20-year lifespan — the transfer would save $206 million, based mostly on common jet gas prices in 2015. Together with decreasing gas prices, the brand new seats may additionally imply 126,000 fewer tons of C02 emissions if used on a single mannequin plane.
“Whereas additive manufacturing holds nice promise for the way forward for manufacturing, it is nonetheless very new for a lot of product builders. Casting, against this, has been round for millennia and is extremely properly understood,” Autodesk analysis scientist Andreas Bastian mentioned in an announcement. “There are tons of of hundreds of engineers, foundries, and factories with deep experience in it. That is one of many causes I’m on the lookout for a bridge between the 2.”
For the previous 12 months, Bastian has been working at Autodesk’s 27,000-square-foot expertise middle in San Francisco to supply the lighter airline seat. Bastian used the algorithms within the Netfabb 3D design software program to create an intricate latticework that resulted in a seat simply as robust.
“We leapt on the alternative to work with Andreas and Autodesk. It is an thrilling challenge and allowed us to pioneer some new methods for magnesium casting,” Paul Leonard, Aristo Solid’s chief engineer, mentioned in an announcement. “It additionally gave us an opportunity to study extra about superior design and optimization methods. That is nonetheless fairly new in our business.”
Whereas a breakthrough for airline seat frames, what Autodesk and Aristo Solid is comparable to what’s being examined in different industries.
Ford Motor Co., for instance, has been utilizing a myriad of 3D printing technologies to fabricate working prototypes for automobile and truck components.
The carmaker has 5 3D prototyping facilities, three within the U.S. and two in Europe. At its Dearborn Heights, Mich. facility, 14 completely different industrial 3D printers prove 20,000 components a 12 months. A single print run on one machine can create wherever from just a few components to tons of.
One 3D printing methodology, referred to as binder jet printing, lays down layer upon layer of sand. Every successive layer of sand is certain to the final with adhesives to create a mildew for making metallic prototype components that used to take as much as 10 weeks to create utilizing standard molds.
Right this moment, utilizing binder jet printing, prototype molds can be utilized to supply tons of of molds on a single machine in a few week.
One other methodology in use at Ford is laser-sintering, the place a number of machines carry out fast prototyping of components by melting tons of to hundreds of successive layers of advantageous silica collectively. What emerges from the printer is an amorphous block of powdered silica from which dozens of hardened components are eliminated by hand and cleaned with a brush and vacuum.
What can also be distinctive about Autodesk and Aristo Solid’s proof-of-concept challenge is that they not solely diminished an airline seat weight with a extra refined body design, however they have been capable of solid in magnesium — no easy activity.
Usually, aluminum is used for airplane seats, however magnesium is 35% lighter. Autodesk’s 3D design optimization resulted in additional than half of the load discount and the magnesium accounted for the remainder, Autodesk claims.
For Aristo Solid, combining a more moderen expertise like 3D printing with confirmed metallic casting methods may spur new progress in its business.
“We have seen loads foundries in our area shutter their doorways lately as manufacturing strikes abroad,” Aristo Solid’s CEO, Jack Ziemba, mentioned in an announcement. “We see adopting new methods like additive manufacturing, even when blended with our experience in casting, as a method ahead — not only for our firm however for many different foundries within the Midwest.”