Materials Solutions achieves NADCAP accreditation for additive manufacturing in Aerospace

Materials Solutions, a Siemens business, has received accreditation from the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP) for additive manufacturing in the aerospace sector. A reported first for a UK 3D printing company in this industry Phil Hatherley, General Manager at Materials Solutions, comments, “We knew that in order to deliver the highest quality parts for the aerospace sector we needed to get the NADCAP accreditation to show we were serious about working in the sector.”

NADCAP and the aerospace sector

Siemens uses Additive Manufacturing to produce various gas turbine components. Materials Solutions manufactures burner heads for Siemens gas turbines in series production. This burner heads have to withstand extreme conditions during commercial power plant operation. Photo via Materials Solutions.

NADCAP is a cooperative, industry-managed approach assessing the conformity of ‘special processes’ set by technical experts, suppliers, the National Physical Laboratory, and the National Measurement Institute.

It is universally recognized and incorporated by the aerospace industry for risk mitigation activity as it validates compliance with industry standards, best practices, and customer requirements. Both Italian metal 3D printing service provider Beam IT and QC Laboratories, Inc., a non-destructive testing (NDT) services company, have NADCAP approval for aerospace production.

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Air Force certifies first field unit for 3D printing of aircraft parts

The U.S. Air Force announced its first use of certified replacement aircraft parts made by a 3D industrial printer on Monday.

An aircraft latrine cover was the first aircraft part authorized for use after being produced on a 3D printer at Travis AFB Force, Calif., the Air Force announced on Monday. Photo by Louis Briscese/USAF/UPI

The 60th Maintenance Squadron at Travis AFB, Calif., is the Air Force’s first field unit with an industrial-sized 3D printer certified to produce nonstructural aircraft parts.

The Stratasys F900 3D printer is capable of printing plastic parts up to 36-by-24-by-36 inches, using Ultem 9085, a flame-retardant high-performance thermoplastic regarded as more flexible, dense and stronger than typical plastic.

The printer, certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Force Advanced Technology and Training Center, offers new opportunities to create needed parts while saving time and money, an Air Force statement said on Monday.

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Certification of 3D-printed aircraft interiors

Ending the struggle to produce end-use 3D-printed aircraft products.

In the aerospace industry, everything needs to be done in compliance with a standardized, documented specification, or procedure. Material specifications cover all aspects of raw materials production (and testing) from paints and sealers to billets and forgings. Certifications or “certs” travel with these materials throughout the manufacturing lifecycle testifying that they are what they should be. Process specifications exist for every manufacturing process used to produce something. From soldering to caulking and from rivet installation to lockwire application everything has a well-documented way of doing it correctly.

And for good reason: Failure at 30,000 feet has dire consequences so everything must be done in a predictable and (statistically significant) safe manner. Most people have heard of AS9100 standards which are based on ISO 9001 requirements. AS9100 takes ISO 9001 even further with additional quality system requirements in order to satisfy DOD, NASA, and FAA quality requirements.

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