Boeing announced earlier this week that they’ll be installing the first 3d printed parts included in Dreamliner aircraft, in a bid to reduce the production cost of their largest commercial jet by millions of dollars.
The Chicago based airplane giant has been looking for ways to bring down the cost of the Dreamliner, and is partnering with Norwegian based Norsk Titanium AS to produce 4 different 787 parts that will be made entirely with 3d printing, as opposed to traditional machining methods.
“This means $2 million to $3 million in savings for each Dreamliner, at least,” Chip Yates, Norsk Titanium’s vice president of marketing told Reuters.
Boeing and Norsk claim this is the first time that structural components designed to withstand the stress of an in flight airframe have been produced with 3d printing, and it’s making quite the splash with Boeing’s next generation commercial airliner.
According to the two companies’ plans, the 4 titanium parts to be 3d printed are an initial step before they try to “open up the floodgates” on this new production process, provided the FAA provides further approvals.
“You’re talking about tons, literally,” Yates said, referring to the amount of component weight that his firm envisions 3d printing for Boeing.
This news is important to Boeing as it looks to reduce the cost of each Dreamliner, and it has much larger implications for the profitability and fuel range of airlines around the globe in the future.