Indaero 3D prints a wide range of production tools, enabling quick design and production of complex geometries that perfectly fit the intricate shapes of aircraft panels. Previously, Indaero was limited to flat shapes using traditional methods, which affected tool performance.“The 3D printer has been a game-changer for us,” said González. “The ability to 3D print curved production tools in robust materials made us realize the importance of having tools that perfectly fit the panels. Not only does it make the work of our operators much easier, it frees up resources and increases our overall productivity.”
In a project for Aernnova, an Airbus provider, Indaero used 3D printing to optimize tooling for the manufacture of an Airbus NH90 helicopter. Traditionally, Indaero used aluminum tooling to attach a slide box onto the interior panel of the helicopter wing. Weighing 12 kilos, the tool required two operators to hold it against the panel while marking the drill holes. With 3D printing, the team redesigned the tool with a curvature matching the panel structure and the capability to stand on its own with the help of two aluminum bars. As a result, Indaero provided Aernnova with a more effective tool, nine kilos lighter than its predecessor.
“There is now no need for two operators as the tool fits against the panel independently, leaving one operator to position the slide box with free hands,” said González. “We can produce a lightweight and robust tool 66% faster than with CNC machining. As a result, this part of the project was completed ahead of time and subsequently led to a reduction in manufacturing cost by over 50%. The customer response has been fantastic.”Using additive manufacturing for lightweight, complex tools keeps Indaero a step ahead in the aerospace industry. “The future is bright. We are excited to explore how we can further leverage our 3D printer to respond to new engineering challenges our customers face,” said González.