Using 3D printed parts has helped Airbus reduce production lead times, lower raw material requirements and increase its aircraft efficiency.
- Airbus¹ is a division of Airbus Group that manufactures civil aircrafts. Headquartered in Blagnac, Airbus employs around 63,000 people across 16 different sites.
- Airbus’ revenues have increased at a CAGR of 6.9% from €49 billion in 2011 to €63 billion in the year to September 2015, with EBITDA margins increasing by 1.3% during the same period from 6.3% to 7.6%.
- In 2015, Airbus used more than 1,000 3D printed parts during the construction of the first A350 XWB to be delivered.
- Airbus started using additive manufacturing about 10 years back to produce tools and for development of components. They have since continued to search further areas where 3D-Printing can be used.
- 3D-Printing has helped Airbus focus not only on achieving better process efficiencies but also meeting high comfort standards and ensuring reliability of aircrafts.
- Airbus is not just taking existing tools and applying them to their planes, but is also experimenting with completely new manufacturing options.
- 3D-Printing has helped Airbus achieve a step change in weight reduction and efficiency, producing aircraft parts which weigh 30-55% less, while reducing raw materials used by 90%.
- Compared to traditional methods, 3D-Printing has decreased total energy used in production by up to 90%.
- Airbus has saved an average of 44 days on the bracket supply lead time, costs and supply lead time on tooling also dropped by 70%.
- Aircrafts are on average 6.4% more fuel efficient with the help of 3D-printed parts.
- Airbus’ vision of applying innovative technologies to design and manufacturing, enabled them to use 3D-Printing to develop improved aircraft parts.
- Entered into strategic partnerships with companies providing 3D-Printing as a service such as Stratasys and Materialise.
- Airbus set up a ‘Factory of the future’ in its quest to explore new ways of manufacturing.
1. Sources: Airbus; WEF/Accenture Analysis
Airbus is one of more than 100 case studies identified as part of the World Economic Forum’s Digital Transformation of Industries initiative. An overview of the DTI program can be found here.