Two years ago, Boeing was in the news because fastener supplies were causing production problems for the new Dreamliner 787 aircraft.
Today, the news is much brighter for the Dreamliner and its fastener supply. Aerospace fastener manufacturer Saturn Fasteners, an operation of Acument Global Technologies, announced it has received a 2009 Boeing Performance Excellence Award. Saturn Fasteners has provided Boeing with custom assembly products for its aircraft programs since its founding in 1989. The company’s statement did not specify particular Boeing programs, such as the Dreamliner.
Another interesting assembly development comes from Greene, Tweed & Co., which makes net shape thermoplastic carbon-reinforced brackets for aircraft applications. The brackets cut weight up to 80 percent compared to the steel or aluminum brackets they replace. It is not clear which programs the new composite brackets will be used on, but the Dreamliner would certainly seem to be a candidate. Boeing is looking for ways to cut weight on the Dreamliner, which at last unoffical report was 8 percent above design weight. The extra weight results in part from extra strengthening required to solve potential delamination problems. The problem takes cash out of Boeing’s pocket because the promised range of the 787 is cut by 10-15 percent. Boeing officials have said they are taking steps to reduce weight, but no specifics have been released yet. Potentially hundreds of the brackets could be used on a single aircraft. Greene, Tweed installed one ProFusion press last year, and is installing two more this year.
Two new technologies from Stratasys, created in partnership with Boeing, Ford, and Siemens, will bring accurate, repeatable manufacturing of very large thermoplastic end products, and much bigger composite parts, onto the factory floor for industries including automotive and aerospace.
These new 3D-printing technologies and printers include some that are truly boundary-breaking: a sophisticated new sub-$10,000, 10-plus materials bioprinter, the first industrial-strength silicone 3D-printing service, and a clever twist on 3D printing and thermoforming for making high-quality realistic models.
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