GKN Aerospace and Materialise have announced the signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) aimed at advancing the research, design, and production of polymer additively manufactured parts for the aviation industry. The LOI was signed at the Paris Air Show and represents an extension of their successful collaboration. Materialise has been a supplier of polymer AM 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.
Together, GKN Aerospace and Materialise aim to accelerate the certification of the AM process and push the boundaries of additive production of functional and flight-critical aerostructures, leveraging its unique manufacturing benefits.
The collaboration ranges from prototyping to the production of functional and flight-critical parts, aligning with the industry’s emerging sustainability trends and opportunities. In particular, the partnership will focus on electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
GKN Aerospace and Materialise’s collaboration has already enabled significant AM milestones, including the successful delivery and certification of multiple AM parts that are flying today.
“This powerful alliance aims to leverage our combined expertise and the exceptional benefits of 3D printing to push the boundaries of innovation in the aeronautics industry”, says Jurgen Laudus, Vice President of Materialise Manufacturing. “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 potential of AM to revolutionize the aviation industry is significant, with the creation of lighter and stronger parts that were previously unachievable with conventional manufacturing technologies, while offering time and cost reductions during the manufacturing process.
GKN Aerospace and Materialise bring complementary manufacturing experience across multiple AM printing technologies. Materialise, with over three decades of experience, pioneers the production of certified parts for various industries and provides EASA 21.G-certified flying parts, software solutions, and consultancy services for the aerospace industry. GKN Aerospace, a global technology leader in additive manufacturing, has load-bearing AM structures certified and in serial production, as well as numerous other AM parts flying today for commercial, military, rotorcraft, and space applications.