Aircraft manufacturer Boeing added the Stratasys Antero 800NA thermoplastic to its additive manufacturing capabilities for printing flight parts. The announcement comes a day after the aircraft manufacturer, whose stock has been suffering due to COVID and the 737MAX grounding, announced 11 000 further job cuts by 2021. These cuts add to the 16 000 employee layoffs announced in April. The aerospace giant’s COVID and regulatory production cuts have deeply impacted its outlook to date, but the company continues to invest in AM capacity. Stratasys is another mark of Boeing’s increasing commitment to the AM space.
Antero 800NA is a PEKK-based polymer developed specifically for production-grade Stratasys FDM 3D printers. Boeing has released specification BMS8-444 and added the 800NA material to the Qualified Products List (QPL) after an extensive evaluation of the material’s performance. It is the first material from Stratasys qualified by Boeing for use in applications with elevated chemical resistance or fatigue requirements.
“Boeing has recognized the tremendous utility of Antero to meet applications that couldn’t have been 3D-printed before,” said Stratasys Aerospace Vice President Scott Sevcik. “Additive manufacturing has tremendous benefits for simplifying aerospace supply chains both in original equipment and MRO, but robust materials for meeting challenging flight requirements have been needed.”
The Antero family of materials includes 800NA and Antero 840CN03, which is an electrostatic dissipative (ESD) variant. Stratasys provides these materials both for customers who use the Stratasys F900 and Fortus 450mc 3D printers and as a material option for on-demand customers through Stratasys Direct Manufacturing.
Boeing’s commitment to the AM space is increasingly palpable. It incorporated the GE9X engine on the 777X airframe. General Electric’s 9X engine is build with over 300 additive manufactured parts. Boeing’s AM fabrication center in Auburn, Washington, serves Boeing’s production efforts a mere half-hour drive from Boeing Field, where final testing for the 737 series aircraft occurs. The company has also partnered with promising start-up companies in the AM space like Authentise and HorizonX.
Stratasys is, of course, an established AM company. Including its PEKK-based polymer in Boeing’s production process for flight parts opens the aircraft manufacturer to new, more efficient, workflows.