AM Craft, a Latvia-based aerospace additive manufacturing service provider, has purchased four large-scale F900 3D printers from Stratasys, marking one of the 3D printing company’s largest single orders to date. AM Craft will utilize the production-grade 3D printers to produce a variety of aircraft interior components, including parts for aircraft seating, paneling and ducting. The AM technology will enable AM Craft to offer its customers a higher degree of customization for aircraft interior applications.
The Latvian AM service provider already has a number of Stratasys systems in operation, including four Fortus F450mc 3D printers. These systems, along with the four new F900 machines will form the core manufacturing force at a new AM facility in Riga that will be dedicated to serving aircraft suppliers and airlines. The new site is expected to open and be fully operational in Q4 2020.
“In recent years, we’ve seen an ongoing demand for 3D printed production parts among major aircraft OEMs,” said Jānis Jātnieks, Co-founder and CEO of AM Craft. “Although COVID-19 has shocked the industry in the last few months, we are seeing efforts to return to business by remodeling passenger planes for cargo shipments, as well as projects to increase customer safety measures and improve the inflight customer experience – for example by providing mobile device charging stations and Wi-Fi infrastructures. In such cases, additive manufacturing is way ahead of slower and more costly traditional methods.”
The F900 systems will largely be printing parts made from Stratasys’ aerospace-grade materials, such as ULTEM 9085, a flame-retardant resin which has been certified by the aerospace industry, and specifically by Airbus. Airbus has standardized the material and uses it for the production of thousands of flight parts for the A350 XWB aircraft.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic caused the world to re-think supply chain strategies, AM Craft was already a step ahead,” commented Yann Rageul, Director Manufacturing Solutions at Stratasys. “The same flexibility offered by Stratasys FDM technology that allowed aerospace manufacturers to change gears and quickly produce personal protective equipment in response to supply chain shortages, is what can enable those same aerospace companies to advance their goals in cabin customization. Both recovery from supply chain disruptions and cabin customization require repeatable, cost-effective, low volume manufacturing, and that’s exactly what AM Craft has invested in with Stratasys.”
With its recent purchase of Stratasys 3D printers, AM Craft will become one of the largest independent 3D printing service providers to focus on aerospace in the EMEA region. Notably, the Latvian company is a sister company to Baltic3D, a 3D printing service founded in 2013, which has been serving aerospace customers since 2017.