The MTC, in partnership with Assystem has demonstrated the capability of using Additive Manufacturing (AM) to enable 30% weight savings for aircraft seat structures.
- Typical economy class seats today weigh around 12-13 kilograms. Achieving weight saving under strict sizing and loading regulations can be difficult using conventional manufacturing methods.
- To achieve weight saving, Assystem were looking to develop expertise in design for Additive Manufacturing (AM), specifically through the use of Electron Beam Melting (EBM), to gain in-depth knowledge of AM possibilities.
- In partnership with Assystem, the MTC helped with the redesign of the seat bracket, using AM topology optimisation software to form a lighter structure.
- The full seat structure was manufactured in titanium using the EBM process, providing a solution via non-conventional manufacturing.
- The MTC developed and optimised EBM parameters to minimise process defects and improved part integrity.
- Post-processing of the AM part, including polishing to improve the surface finish was carried out, followed by an inspection using X-Ray Computed Tomography (XCT).
- A demonstration of how AM can be used to manufacture complex geometries
- Weight savings by 30% through topology optimisation
- The MTC developed process parameters to improve the integrity of AM parts
- Validation of the part quality through Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) using XCT, providing Assystem with a greater understanding of detection of defects, and quality analysis for AM parts
Benefits to the client
- Weight savings of 30% on seat structure, leading to reduction in costs for client
- Increased knowledge of the AM process, including understanding the role, requirements and influence of topology optimisation and post-processing
- Increased knowledge of design and validation of highly complex and efficient geometries for AM production, to support existing aerospace AM capability
“We see Additive Manufacturing being a key enabler in the industry to achieve improvements. As the aerospace industry heads into a decade of incremental development, maturing AM to reduce cost and weight will bring more efficient products to market quicker. This will be a game-changer and the MTC has assisted in proving this capability.” Pete Dalton, Head of Design UK, Assystem