GKN Aerospace and Belgium-based Materialise are to partner on the R&D and production of polymer additively manufactured parts for the aviation industry.
The two companies signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) at the Paris Air Show last month which extends their existing R&D partnership. Materialise supplied polymer additively manufactured (AM) parts to GKN Aerospace since 2015, and supported the delivery of the additively manufactured wingtip for Eviation’s Alice, the world’s largest all-electric aircraft, which made its maiden flight in 2022.
The partnership between GKN and Materialise aims to accelerate the certification of the AM process and advance the additive production of functional and flight-critical aerostructures.
The collaboration ranges from prototyping to the production of functional and flight-critical parts, aligning with the industry’s emerging sustainability trends and opportunities. It also covers the development of of parts for eVTOL aircraft.
Jurgen Laudus, vice president of Materialise Manufacturing said, “This alliance aims to leverage our combined expertise and the exceptional benefits of 3D printing to push the boundaries of innovation in the aeronautics industry.
“Together, we aim to drive technological advancements, respond more effectively to customer requirements, and shape the future of aerospace manufacturing.”
Russ Brigham, programme director GKN Aerospace said, “Materialise is a valued AM supplier for GKN Aerospace and partnering with them on this ground-breaking technology has been a success for both companies. AM is out there and flying on aircraft around the world today and will be critical to achieve a more sustainable future of flight ahead.”
The use of AM can result in lighter and stronger parts previously unachievable with subtractive manufacturing technologies, while offering time and cost reductions production.
GKN Aerospace and Materialise has more than 30 years of experience in the production of certified parts and provides EASA 21.G-certified flying parts, software solutions, and consultancy services for the aerospace industry.