Russian Helicopters is planning to re-engineer and manufacture nearly 30 different helicopter parts using 3D printing technology, starting from 2020.
"This year we are finishing the re-engineering of around 30 different parts and details that will be manufactured using additive technologies. These parts are currently manufactured with various methods, like casting, punching or machining. We need to integrate their production to 3D printing. According to our plans, this will process will start in 2020. We are talking about serious, power elements of the structures, units and systems of our helicopters. By the end of the year, we will decide whether we are ready to put these parts on serial production,” said Director for Innovations of Russian Helicopters Andrey Shibitov.
Each item will undergo construction re-design, strength testing and testing from the point of view of all modern production technologies. As part of the tests, it is essential to confirm that the part made using additive technology is equal or superior in its characteristics to the analogous item it replaces. Only after this, the new parts can be approved to be integrated to the production of various helicopter series.
At the moment, Russian-made helicopters are yet to include parts made using additive technologies. The use of additive manufacturing is expected to reduce the weight of the aircraft and its cost.