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Dassault Systèmes and Airbus APWorks Collaborate on Aerospace Additive Manufacturing

27 June 2017

Dassault Systèmes and Airbus APWorks, a subsidiary of Airbus and specialist in metal 3D printing, have entered into a collaborative partnership to advance the use of additive manufacturing for large-scale production in the aerospace and defence industry.

The collaboration will leverage Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform and APWorks’ consulting, engineering and production expertise for new developments in the virtual validation of the additive manufacturing process.

Dassault Systèmes and APWorks will extend the capabilities of the Co-Design to Target industry solution experience to develop an integrated process that provides digital continuity for all engineering parameters across the value chain necessary for the additive manufacturing of a part. This will make the additive manufacturing process, from design optimisation up to production, replicable and scalable.

The next generations of aerospace parts are becoming lighter and more reliable thanks to additive manufacturing. As increasingly sophisticated designs, new high-performance materials and faster machines emerge, the use of additive manufacturing is extending beyond creative product design and prototyping to gain traction as one of the key industrial manufacturing processes worldwide. 

Virtual technologies can help accelerate this large-scale adoption. The new Dassault Systèmes and APWorks end-to-end process will be designed to deliver a single source of data to address upstream material design and downstream manufacturing processes and testing. The integration of 3D design combined with engineering and simulation optimises parts for additive manufacturing, enables standardised parameters and therefore allows certification standards. Subsequent steps such as testing, optimisation and additive manufacturing of a part can be matched to the identified parameters. Original equipment manufacturers can optimise their conceptual designs by connecting with their supply chains to perform virtual validation during each phase and to detect problems before a part is produced. 

“The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a first important step to replicable and scalable serial production," says Joachim Zettler, CEO, APWorks. "Simulation can help to predict and avoid part failures. The aviation industry is safety-oriented and new product introductions typically take time. With the virtual validation of the additive manufacturing process, we can expect certified serial additively manufactured parts.”

“Virtual technologies and additive manufacturing are enabling the industrial world to do more with less waste, weight and costs, as well as freeing designers to explore complex shapes that could not be manufactured using traditional processes,” comments Michel Tellier, Vice President Aerospace & Defence Industry, Dassault Systèmes. “Only by reducing the distance between real and virtual to zero can industry build and experience the future. Dassault Systèmes is joining efforts with leading-edge innovators in this field like APWorks to accelerate technology adoption in the industry.” 

In addition to aerospace and defence, the collaboration will target potential applications in the automotive and medical industries, as well as in robotics and mechanical engineering.