New 3D printed panels

Jon Lawson

Stelia Aerospace has presented, as a world premiere, in partnership with Constellium, Centrale Nantes and CT Ingénierie, within the scope of the collaborative project DEFACTO (DEveloppement de la Fabrication Additive pour Composant TOpologique), a demonstrator for metallic self-reinforced fuselage panels, with stiffeners directly manufactured on the surface, through additive manufacturing.

This new technology should, in the long term, eliminate the current added stiffeners, which are attached to the fuselage panels with fixing screws and sometimes welding.

This demonstrator was manufactured by a robotic tool through the deposit of aluminium wire merged by electric arc (WAAM – Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing). It presents a new disruptive design for panel stiffeners, derived from the fuselage topological optimisation studies which have been carried out in recent years.

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