Additive Manufacturing for Defense & Aerospace

Enabling Lightweight, Complex Parts for Higher Performance

Additive Manufacturing for Defense & Aerospace

The aerospace industry was one of the first industries to embrace additive manufacturing (AM), and it’s now one of the largest single industries using it. AM enables the design of more complex parts, fast revisions and lower buy-to-fly ratios — critical factors for applications that have to meet the most demanding material and performance standards. That’s why AM is increasingly used for building fuel nozzles, turbines and burners, actuators and hydraulics, and other aerospace and defense components. 

  • Complexity — A layering, additive process provides extraordinary design possibilities. Many complex, lightweight, higher-performance parts simply can’t be produced using traditional, subtractive manufacturing techniques.  

  • Weight Reduction — One of the most important goals in aerospace manufacturing is weight reduction. With AM, designers create parts with complex geometries and internal features that do far more with less material, reducing part count and weight. 

  • Speed of Redesign — Quickly optimizing functionality is a key benefit for this sector. Instead of re-tooling and producing new molds, designers modify CAD files. Fast, iterative design adjustments enable greater agility for a distinct strategic advantage.

  • Scalable, Customized Production — Defense and spacecraft applications often require small numbers of highly-specialized components and replacement parts. Low-volume production is far more feasible and cost-effective with AM. 

  • Tactical Platforms — Large-scale as well as compact 3D printers can be quickly deployed close to operational theatres. This can be of particular value when integrating printable electronics in a layering process, a common technique used for mission-specific drone activities.

Jabil has a growing deployment of hundreds of additive manufacturing printers operating worldwide for high-speed sintering, fused filament fabrication, polymer and metal laser sintering and other processes. With more than 120 manufacturing plants harmonized with digital production systems, Jabil is uniquely positioned to partner with aerospace and defense contractors to reap the benefits of a globally distributed manufacturing network. The system can secure a design file to ensure products are consistent and certified when produced in multiple geographies — and with applicable quality management systems.

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