3D printing is really taking off


Aviation forum on 7 June 2018 to focus on quality and cost-effectiveness in the additive manufacturing process

Additive manufacturing has become a key feature of the aerospace industry. 3D-printed engine components and cabin structures are lighter, help to save fuel and reduce environmental impact. Three-dimensional printing processes, in particular laser melting, have become firmly established in the sector. “Material and machinery manufacturers, service providers and research institutions are working with users to further improve materials and processes so as to enable high-quality components to be manufactured consistently and cost-effectively. The paths being explored here will be the focus of the Aviation forum at Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D in Erfurt on 7 June 2018”, explains Verena Uhl, Head of Consulting at Bionic Production and the convenor of the forum.

Speakers from the German Aerospace Center, the Ariane Group, Bionic Production, Proto Labs, Fraunhofer IAPT and Paderborn University will provide insights into the development of 3D printing in the aerospace sector. They will also present their latest projects and demonstrate the processes and limits associated with designing metal 3D-printed parts. One topic will be the adaptation for additive manufacturing of Ti6Al4V, one of the titanium alloys used most frequently in aerospace products. Processes for optimising manufacturing parameters and achieving higher processing speeds in the laser melting of Ti6Al4V components will be presented, as will investigations into the influence of parameter and machine configuration on the mechanical characteristics of the alloy.

Another session will cover a concept based on Industry 4.0 technology that enables the lifespan of additively manufactured components to be predicted more accurately, by integrating additional sensors into existing additive manufacturing systems. The resulting monitoring data can be linked with component-specific requirements and failure effect analysis then used to determine the lifespan of the part.

The field of aeronautics is also working towards being able to predict the quality of a component during the additive manufacturing process itself, in order to reduce production costs and manufacturing time. Online process controls are already being used in the laser melting of engine components for the new Ariane 6 rocket. This means that complex non-destructive tests are no longer required post manufacture.

The Aviation forum is part of the Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D international trade fair and conference for additive technologies, which will take place from 5 to 7 June 2018 at Messe Erfurt. The event is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. It has been held in Erfurt since 2004, and is considered a global pioneer of 3D printing technology events. Its comprehensive conference programme, the only one of its kind, also includes the Users Conference and AM Science forum being held on 6 and 7 June respectively. New this year, held across both days, will be the Medical, Dental and Orthopaedic Technology forum. Another new forum on Law will be held on 5 June, alongside the Contract Additive Manufacturing, Automotive Industry, Design, and Tool, Mould and Fixture Making forums. The 3D-Printed Electronics & Functionality and 3D Metal Printing forums will follow on 6 June, completing the three-day long fair’s world class conference programme.

The 3D printing community will once again come together on all three days for the 3D Printing Conference. As well as discussing current issues and technical innovations, speakers will give behind-the-scenes insights into their research and development activities and selected competitions. Talks will cover everything from start-up financing to digital fabrication and education. Messe Erfurt is also once again looking for the most innovative company founders for its Start-Up Award and the best design ideas for its 3D Pioneers Challenge.

More than 200 exhibitors will be presenting the latest developments, products and services in additive manufacturing at the trade fair, which is sold out.

In 2017, 4,800 (2016: 4,500) trade visitors and conference participants, and 207 exhibitors (2016: 176) from 13 countries attended Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D in Erfurt.


You can download this press information here.

You can find impressions of Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D 2017 here.