Stratasys Blog

Additive Manufacturing Takes Flight with Marshall Aerospace

For Marshall Aerospace and Defense Group, the time is now to take flight. As one of the world’s largest privately owned and independent aerospace and defense companies, Marshall is consistently pushing the boundaries to engineer accurate, complex, functional and lightweight parts with streamlined costs. That’s why additive manufacturing is becoming a natural fit for their production processes and they’re now using 3D printed parts from Stratasys that are built-to-fly.

Additive manufacturing is increasingly a “go-to” application as manufacturers aim to boost performance and reliability of complex, flight-ready parts – all at lower costs. These companies are adopting the technology to power faster design iterations, decision-making and responses to market changes – allowing fixtures and flight-ready parts to go from idea to production in a fraction of the time. And since it’s aerospace, all materials must align with the strict qualification and certification guidelines set by the industry.

For Marshall, 3D printing with Stratasys is a natural fit. The team is incorporating the solution to manufacture flight-ready parts for several of its military, civil and business aircraft – while engineering specific ground-running equipment at lower costs than typical aluminum alternatives. They’re also integrating Stratasys technology into 3D printed ductwork flying on heavily modified aircraft – as well as key aircraft interior components.

The manufacturer capitalizes on the Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D Printer and ULTEM™ 9085 resin as key components of their prototyping and manufacturing ecosystems. The FDM machine is purpose-built for advanced prototyping and production – designed to 3D print in complex, requirement-driven environments, such as aerospace and automotive industries.

The ULTEM resin is certified, high-performance FDM thermoplastic – allowing manufacturers to 3D print production-grade parts for lightweight, high-strength and certified applications. Advanced ULTEM materials ensure parts also meet the desired flame, smoke and toxicity properties for aircraft interiors.

3D printing has also been instrumental for Marshall to prove complex designs before moving to expensive production – including one of their key ducting adapter prototypes.

With this application, Marshall realized major cost savings for this 3D printed prototype, alongside a 63 percent reduction in overall part weight.

Marshall’s ducting adapter prototype.

The Fortus machine ensured Marshall could 3D print the prototype in ASA material, before investing in more expensive aluminum options during machining. This process allowed for development of a working prototype of that intricate component – ultimately proving it could be 3D printed in Nylon 12 rather than more costly options. 

According to Chris Botting, Materials, Processes and Additive Manufacturing Engineer at Marshall ADG – the company is completely invested in FDM technology:

“FDM technology has altered the way we work, and the aerospace-grade 3D printers and materials enable us to meet our increasing aggressive deadlines and complex manufacturing requirements. In the future, there’s no doubt that 3D printing will continue to have a significant impact in the way we design and manufacture in our business.”

Marshall is just one of hundreds of aerospace companies worldwide empowering business to take flight with additive manufacturing. Learn how to put the power of Stratasys technology to work in your high-requirement manufacturing environment.

For more information – and to help get ideas off the ground quickly – visit the Stratasys aerospace solutions page.

Craig Librett

Craig Librett

A 25+-year industry veteran, Craig has written extensively about all aspects of the technology industry. As Senior Public Relations Manager for Stratasys, he is particularly well-versed at communicating the impact of Additive Manufacturing across a broad range of industries. Craig is a graduate of Boston University, with an MBA from Northeastern University.

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