Revolutionary 3D Metal Production Process Developed at UK’s Cranfield

(Cranfield University) One of the largest 3D metal parts in the UK has now been produced as a result of the Additive Manufacturing research at the UK’s Cranfield University. Designed by BAE Systems engineers, the part measures 1.2m in length and is made of titanium. Known as a spar section, the part forms a main structural element of the aircraft wing structure and took just 37 hours to build from a digital model, where previously this process would have taken weeks.

The manufacture of the part used a specific kind of 3D printing known as Wire+Arc Additive Manufacture (WAAM). Professor Stewart Williams, who leads the project for Cranfield University, said “This is an exciting technology with huge potential for the aerospace industry. Cranfield is renowned for its close working relationships with industry partners and this is an excellent example. We will continue working with BAE Systems to improve the process and develop additional parts and processes that can be applied commercially.”