Stelia Aerospace has produced a metallic self-reinforced fuselage panel demonstrator produced by additive manufacturing.
Stelia Aerospace has presented what it calls a breakthrough in additive manufacturing, in the form of a metallic self-reinforced fuselage panel, featuring stiffeners directly built up on the surface. The part was produced in partnership with Constellium, Centrale Nantes engineering school and CT Ingénierie, under the DEFACTO (DEveloppement de la Fabrication Additive pour Composant Topologique) collaborative R&T project.
This new technology opens up the possibility of eliminating stiffeners attached to the fuselage panels with fasteners or by welding.
The 1 sq. metre demonstrator was manufactured by a robotic system, using aluminium wire as feedstock and electric arc as the heat source (WAAM – Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing).
The 2.5-year DEFACTO project is co-financed equally by the DGAC (French Directorate General for Civil Aviation) and the project partners.
It is part of a research strategy launched by Stelia Aerospace in 2014, involving topological optimisation studies in association with 3D print demonstrators for elementary parts (such as fittings), large parts (frames) and large sub-assemblies.
Potential benefits include new designs, integration of functions, reduced ecological impact through the use of less material, weight gains and less recurring manufacturing costs.