A brief press release from CSIR, South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research announced a three-way partnership to develop “titanium powder-based additive layer manufacturing for fabrication of large and complex aerospace components.”
The other partners in this venture are Aerosud, a South African-based aerospace manufacturer and the more well-known Airbus.
CSIR provides high-power laser expertise, suggesting a laser-melted titanium powder process will be investigated. According to the press release, Aerosud and CSIR are “the only organisations in the world doing work on high-speed, large-volume additive laser manufacturing.”
Airbus’ presence makes this deal a lot more important, as it suggests Airbus believes the possibility of large-scale titanium 3D printed airplane parts is real. If this works, we’ll see the weight of Airbus’ planes drop as more complex large parts could be produced instead of bolting less complex smaller parts together.