Additive manufacturing: Huge potential, big barriers

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Introduction

Part 1 appears here.

By Dan Catchpole

August 27, 2018, © Leeham News: For all its potential, additive manufacturing faces significant hurdles before it can deliver on advocates’ assertions that the technology will revolutionize the aerospace industry.

United Technologies is counting on additive manufacturing, often called 3D printing, to help it develop and produce new components faster, better and cheaper. Paula Hay is leading the expansion of additive manufacturing at United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS). In part two to last week’s interview with Hay, LNC talks to her about what problems have to be solved for additive manufacturing (AM) to make good on its potential.

Summary

  • Need more consistent materials and equipment.
  • OEMs and regulators have to develop AM standards.
  • Design culture has to evolve to reflect AM capabilities.

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UTC Aerospace Systems sees big benefits from additive manufacturing

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Introduction

By Dan Catchpole

August 20, 2018, © Leeham News: There is a fundamental tension in aerospace’s DNA.

UTC Aerospace Systems’ executive Paula Hay is leading the aerospace supplier’s adoption of additive manufacturing. (Image via LinkedIn)

It has been there since Kitty Hawk: Balancing the hunger to push technological boundaries with the desire to stay safe.

The Wright Flyer only flew after years of painstakingly testing airframes and engines. That tension between being bold and being safe is evident today in commercial aerospace’s adoption of additive manufacturing.

Just about every major player in the aerospace industry is exploring additive manufacturing, or 3D printing. Most of the integration has been at the margins. The technology is still young enough that there is no clear leader in its application to aerospace. Everyone is trying to find how to get the most from it.

Summary

  • Begin with mechanical, not structural systems.
  • Big parts reductions.
  • Big reduction in lead time.

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Some suppliers consider sitting out Boeing’s NMA program

By Dan Catchpole

August 15, 2018, © Leeham News: If Boeing launches its New Midsize Airplane (NMA or 797), it is expected to use the cleansheet program to force new contract terms on suppliers. And that has some suppliers wondering if it is worth participating in the program at all.

Speaking on background, executives from several suppliers told LNC in recent months that they might not bid on NMA work if it means greater price concessions up front, as well as surrendering lucrative aftermarket sales to Boeing.

Bidding will depend, in part, on whether suppliers can pass cost cuts down to their own suppliers,  and if Boeing takes on more risk and development costs to offset lost aftermarket revenue. One exec wondered what it could mean for the company’s engineering capabilities if they have to bid for essentially procurement orders with Boeing holding onto the IP.

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Farnborough: United Technologies goes digital

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 18, 2018, © Leeham News.: United Technologies (UTC) Chairman and CEO Greg Hays said in a Farnborough presentation: “UTC’s focus is a digital lifecycle for all its products.”

“We need to get a digital uninterrupted chain from the idea over development to production and then for the after-sales service. This is the only way we can achieve the increases in development and production efficiency expected of us going forward,” said Hays.

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Embraer’s improved E190-E2, analysis. Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

December 18, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Embraer is expecting certification soon for the first E2 E-Jet, the E190-E2. We covered our analysis of the changes from the original E190 to the E190-E2 in Part 1.

We now continue with the economic analysis. To check where the E190-E2 stand versus its competition, we include the Bombardier CS100 in the analysis.

Summary:
  • The E-Jet E2 introduces a new wing, new engines and an advanced Fly-By-Wire system. Jointly these bring the fuel consumption of the E-Jet on par with the latest competition.
  • Complementing the lower fuel costs are reduced maintenance costs. This is an important step to keep up with competing aircraft.
  • Heavier engines and a larger wing increase the Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of the E190-E2. This increases underway and landing fees. If the extra range of the E2 is not needed, the higher fees can be avoided with the selection of a lower MTOW version.

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Pontifications: Boeing’s sense of invincibility

By Scott Hamilton

Sept. 11, 2017, © Leeham Co.: I can’t help but get the feeling that Boeing feels it’s invincible these days.

And why not?

Boeing racked up some impressive victories and took some hardline positions in recent months that move it forward for its corporate goals.

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Airbus, Boeing cost-cutting

AirbusNewSept. 20, 2016: Airbus is planning cost-cutting measures to offset program write-offs and delivery delays, according to The Financial Times.

One of these delays involves the well-publicized problems with the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbo Fan engine on the A320neo.

The CEO of United Technologies, parent of PW, last week said engine deliveries could fall 50-100 engines short of the 200 originally projected for the year, with a likely shortfall of about 50.

The A320neo “gliders” (as an Airbus executive put it) are well known. Bombardier also said it will deliver about half the number of CSeries this year because of GTF issues.

Sam Pearlstein, the aerospace analyst at Wells Fargo, had this synopsis:

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44% supplier shortfall for GTF now showing impact

Sept. 6, 2016, © Leeham Co.: It was a stunning admission, one that produced the biggest headlines at the United Technologies media days in June: 44% of the suppliers on Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbo Fan engine weren’t performing to the UTC/PW standards.

The impact of this was seen today when Bombardier announced it will deliver only half the anticipated 15 C Series this year because of engine delivery issues by PW for the GTF powering the new airplane.

Bombardier and PW pointed the finger at its supply chain for the delays in delivering engines.

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Antonov betting on Western technology

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 14, 2016, ©. Leeham Co, Farnborough Air Show: The company Antonov is world renowned for its rugged transport aircraft. The recent An-124 Ruslan and An-225 Mriya super-heavy transporters are the world’s largest transport aircraft. Both fly daily for the Antonov companies own airline, transporting outsize cargo for companies like Boeing, Airbus, GE, Rolls-Royce and others.

LAJES FIELD, AZORES -- Portuguese and American workers tend to the Antonov An-225 Mriya, or "Dream," April 28 on the flightline at Lajes Field. The "Cossack," as it is known by NATO, landed here to refuel and get service. Currently the world's largest aircraft, the An-225 was designed mainly to transport the Russian space shuttle "Buran" and its components from a service area to a launch site, to Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, second edition . It is the only aircraft of its type known to be in existence, according to Jane's. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Tudor)

The worlds largest aircraft, the heavy air-lifter An-225 Mriya. Source: Antonov.

The air freighter company is what keeps Antonov afloat, for it has been hit hard by the fall of the Soviet Union and Ukraine’s decision to split with the Russian Federation and orient itself to the West.  Read more

Boeing launches PFS 2.0

Update, 0815 PDT July 7: Boeing Corporate Headquarters responded to our questions. The transcript has been added to the article below.

Boeing LogoJuly 7, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Boeing’s controversial Partnering for Success (PFS) drew ire from its suppliers and scorn from observers for its heavy-handed, threatening cost-cutting demands: shave your costs to Boeing 15%-25% or be put on our own no-fly list of companies that we won’t do business with.

Boeing wasn’t shy about who it targeted, or punished. Even supply-chain giant United Technologies was placed on Boeing’s no-fly list when it balked at the onerous demand.

Now Boeing is moving forward with PFS 2.0, a second round of demands.

Summary
  • PFS 1.0 focused on price.
  • PFS 2.0 focuses on terms and conditions.
  • Boeing wants to stretch accounts payables; some suppliers balking.
  • Suppliers get credit for investing in technology.
  • Threats cease in PFS 2.0.

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