US 3D-printing company Markforged has launched aerospace versions of its carbon fibre manufacturing materials that “reduce risk and save time”.
The Massachusetts-based company announced it will provide aerospace-ready versions of its Onyx FR and Carbon FR 3D- printing materials to use in the building of aircraft interiors.
The materials are currently undergoing qualifications with the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance (NCAMP), a regulatory body authorised by the Federal Aviation Administration.
This is part of the National institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University.
“Markforged believes in a future that is more than metal. We have long supported the aerospace industry and have parts in-flight today,” said Markforged president and CEO Shai Terem.
“Our deliberate move to support innovation in aerospace mitigates risk for these manufacturers and helps get additive parts in the air faster by simplifying the part certification process.”
According to Terem, aerospace manufacturers are transitioning into more advanced materials that are lighter and more efficient, compared to conventional metal.
The two materials are designed to meet the “flame, smoke and toxicity requirements” for a range of aircraft interior parts.
Aircraft years ago were mostly made of aluminium as it was considered lightweight and inexpensive.
Now, different types of materials are being explored in the market, such as lighter-weight carbon fibre reinforced polymers like Markforged’s technology.
Markforged hopes to enable manufacturers who are in highly-regulated industries to explore fibre reinforced end-use parts because it is more efficient and is considered safer, the company said.
The Onyx FR-A and Carbon Fiber FR-A are printed by the company’s 3D-printing platform, The Digital Forge.
It is a cloud-based, AI-powered platform fabricating advanced materials efficiently.
The materials are designed for aerospace and defence industries because they have “high strength-to-weight ratio, exceptional surface finish, and high consistency”, according to the website.
Both materials will be made available for use on the X7, X5 and X3 platforms, and the Carbon Fiber FR-A with the X7 system – all industrial 3D printing systems.
Markforged has already worked with several aerospace companies, including Cabin Management Solutions in Texas, which designs and manufactures aircraft cabins and in-flight entertainment.
“Using Markforged printers and materials offers us ways to create low-volume, high-value luxury cabin parts faster and at the point of need,” said vice president of engineering at CMS, Jeff Pike.
The company has already developed over 100 end-use parts with the Markforged technology.
“This results in lower costs and accelerated lead times, and with material traceability in place, it will enable us to move even faster in our development process and free up resources to focus elsewhere.”