Everyone loves talking about 3D printing, but now it's really hitting the big time: Rolls-Royce has decided that it's going to use the technology to help make its airplane engines.
While the company has been mulling the idea of using 3D printing for a few years now, it's finally decided that the technology has come of age. Confident that it can push the limits of additive manufacturing to provide the levels of precision required for aeronautical engineering, Rolls-Royce will now be using 3D printers to create metallic and ceramic parts for its commercial airplane engines. Dr Wapenhans, the company’s head of technology, explains:
“3D printing opens up new possibilities, new design space. Through the 3D printing process, you’re not constrained by having to get a tool to create a shape. You can create any shape you like.”
Initially the company will use the technique to create brackets and fuel nozzles, which can be made more lightweight by using 3D printing rather than existing manufacturing methods. A small step, sure, but it's a definite sign that 3D printing is no fad; in fact, it'll be keeping you in the air in a few years time. Gulp. [FT]
Image by Rolls-Royce