Attendees can network at the Competitive Edge conference trade show.
Lynnwood, Washington – The second day of the 16th annual conference of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) explored additive manufacturing from the perspectives of opportunities, innovation, supply chain, and performance.
Dr. Leo Christodoulou, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ director of engineering structures and materials, noted that additive manufacturing (AM) is no longer a technology awaiting flight applications, and that 50,000 3D printed parts are already flying on Boeing products. “They all bought their way onto the airplanes because they offer advantages in production schedule, price, complexity, or performance – not just because they are additively manufactured.”
He warned the supplier community, “You cannot stand on the sidelines and watch the show.” He emphasized the need for the plane maker to help bring AM capability into the supply chain by establishing an ecosystem comprising a common protocol that defines standards, qualification, and certification procedures; a trained workforce; and an independent supply base that can support design and creation of AM components.
Ed Colvin, vice president of technology for Arconic forgings and extrusions, described advances in forged products that AM allows. The company’s Ampliforge process uses AM preformed, near-net-shaped metal parts that only need to be die-struck once, reducing the amount of stock needed, reducing tooling costs, extending tooling life, reducing processing time, and lowering buy-to-fly cost. Forgings made this way still meet requirements for controlling strain and deformation, Colvin said.
Other sessions on Day 2 offered insights on aerostructures production and digitalization trends.
The final day of this year’s PNAA conference theme will continue to examine ways participants can implement technology and innovation to achieve a competitive edge. A main feature is a workforce development session and fair to link employers with regional training, education, and apprenticeship experts, organized by Hexcel in partnership with the PNAA.
Aerospace Manufacturing and Design is the event’s media sponsor.