Arconic and Airbus installed a 3D-printed titanium bracket on a series production Airbus commercial aircraft, the A350 XWB – a first for 3D printing. Arconic is 3D printing these parts for Airbus’ newest wide-body aircraft at Arconic’s additive-manufacturing (AM) facility in Austin, Texas. The first installation of a 3D-printed titanium part on a series production Airbus commercial aircraft marks a milestone for AM in aerospace. While airplane makers have been using 3D printed parts for quite some time, equipping airframes with metal parts produced via AM is new.

In addition, the installation of this 3D-printed titanium bracket on a series production commercial airplane marks a significant step forward in the qualification of more complex 3D-printed parts for production aircraft. 3D-printed parts are currently flying on Airbus A320neo and A350 XWB test aircraft.

Last year, Arconic announced three agreements with Airbus to produce titanium and nickel 3D-printed parts for commercial aircraft. These agreements draw on Arconic’s 3D-printing technology capabilities, including laser powder-bed and electron-beam processes.