New agreement helps 3D printing take off

The Warwick WMG additive manufacturing 3D printer at work 3D printing a part - image courtesy of WMG.

A new collaboration between SAP SE and APWorks, a subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space GmbH, has been announced that aims to speed up the adoption and standardisation of industrial 3D printing.

The announcement was made at the Farnborough International Airshow and aims at accelerating the use of 3D printing and additive manufacturing in the aerospace and defence industry.

The agreement aims at connecting experts in additive manufacturing with end users, with APWorks to use the printing services announced by SAP. These services will allow APWorks to manufacture 3D printed components such as armrests and brackets.

The scheme will also allow better management of spare part orders, with pre-approved components delivered to order in real time.

The co-innovation agreement between SAP and APWorks plans to address the following areas:

  • Digitalisation and simplification of the production part approval process
  • Screening and validating parts for using the 3D printing process
  • Designing and redesigning of a part or system to optimise for on-demand manufacturing and 3D printing
  • Accelerating and standardising the processes for certifying the manufacturing of parts by 3D printing firms
  • Securing an on-demand budgetary price for manufacturing firms to evaluate 3D printed parts versus traditional manufacturing, including cost components such as tax and warehousing, using the SAP® Product Lifecycle Costing solution
  • Covering each stage from production floor to customer door — for seamless routing of the order
APWorks are the company behind the world's first 3D printed motorbike.
APWorks are the company behind the world’s first 3D printed motorbike.

SAP making headway with 3D printing

SAP recently announced that it would would extend its supply chain solutions by incorporating certification cloud service for industrial 3D printing as well as an on-demand printing manufacturing network. The firm expects these services will deliver manufacturing will deliver production and logistical cost savings together with reductions in issues that arise in complicated supply chains and lower CO2 emissions.

“Innovation in on-demand 3D printing is now revolutionising traditional manufacturing,” said Torsten Welte, global head of Aerospace and Defence Industry, SAP. “In the next few years 3D printing will be widely adopted across manufacturing industries.

“The aerospace and defence market will transform digitally to strive to achieve near-zero unplanned downtime on commercial flights as well as support high production turnaround at a lower cost. What makes 3D printing most attractive in aerospace is the removal of many costs associated with traditional manufacturing like stocking inventory. Users are enabled to print the parts they need, as needed.”

Joachim Zettler, CEO of APWorks said: “The ability to 3D print all the possible components of an A350 aircraft could reduce the weight of it by nearly a ton. On-demand 3D printing cloud service from SAP can help us to develop our vision for distributed, on-demand production of aerospace components and still meet the high quality standards necessary to make the aircraft fly.”