Materialize & Proposant aim to make 3D printing more accessible for aerospace MROs

Materialize partnered with an aircraft parts distributor Supporter to explore how 3D printing could help aerospace OEMs.

Companies envision a digital supply chain that enables on-demand manufacturing, with 3D printing being “introduced to the purchasing realm” to make the technology increasingly accessible to MROs to source 3D printed parts.

Through its traditional distribution services to airlines, MROs, OEMs and inventory management solutions, Proponent ships 54 million parts per year to 6,000 customers in more than 100 countries. Most of these components are for the aftermarket, with parts for engines, cockpits and cabins. Aligning with Materialize, which itself manufactures 700 sets of parts per year for various aerospace customers, the developer is now looking to build a one-stop solution for aftermarket parts produced with 3D printing and traditional technologies.

“3D printing represents an opportunity to help our OEMs and supplier partners become more efficient in their supply chains and complements our storage distribution model,” commented Andrew Todhunter, CEO of the promoter. “Producing custom parts or small production runs through additive manufacturing gives us the ability to source on demand, sustainably, and avoid high minimum order quantities. Our customers get what they need, when they need it, and OEMs avoid the costs and risks of manufacturing these parts.

Serving OEMs, MROs and aircraft suppliers, Materialize has accumulated in-depth expertise in the aerospace market. It has delivered approximately 26,000 parts per year for the Airbus A350 system and uses two 3D printing technologies to serve the aviation leader, becoming the first supplier to be qualified by Airbus to produce laser sintered parts in accordance with its Airbus AIPS 03-07-022 process specification in May.

“Open solutions and a collaborative approach have always been crucial for Materialize,” added Bart Van der Schueren, CTO of Materialize. “Today, we are delighted to combine our capabilities as an EASA 21.G certified production organization with the reach and central position of the promoter in the aerospace supply chain. This brings 3D printing technology into the comfort zone of well-established aerospace industry supply chains.

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