Airbus Helicopters partners with Trumpf on additive

Airbus Helicopters uses 3D printers by Trumpf to produce components for its helicopters as well as for aircraft owned by the parent company Airbus. Airbus Helicopters is expanding its additive manufacturing capabilities with a new 3D printing centre in Donauwörth, Germany.

“With this innovative manufacturing process, we are working on the helicopters of the future in Donauwörth. Among other things, 3D printing helps reduce the weight of components,” said Helmut Färber, site manager of Airbus Helicopters in Donauwörth.

Additive manufacturing helps aircraft operators to reduce their fuel consumption and costs. This process can also reduce CO2 emission in flight. Airbus Helicopters uses 3D-printing to manufacture components for the electric CityAirbus, experimental high-speed Racer and Airbus A350 or A320 passenger aircraft. 

Trumpf’s manufacturing expertise makes it a reliable aviation partner worldwide. Our 3D printing systems are a key technology on the path to sustainable flying and they reduce dependency on long supply chains,” commented Richard Bannmüller, CEO Trumpf Laser and System Technology. Additive Manufacturing allows complete assemblies to be printed in one piece. Weight is reduced. The components are also very stable, and they meet the safety standards of the aviation industry.

Airbus Helicopters uses 3D printers by Trumpf to produce structural components in titanium and high-strength aluminum.

The aviation industry can save money by using additive manufacturing. 3D printers only use the material that designers actually need for their components and that ends up taking off in the aircraft,” said Bannmüller. “3D printing users can also reuse unused metal powder. In contrast, conventional manufacturing processes require up to 10 times as much raw material as the final product. Therefore, when milling or chipping, much of the raw material ends up being waste.”