EADS Innovation Works has already made ALM-produced components airborne, including aerodynamically profiled cooling ducts that were successfully used on an Airbus test aircraft during more than 120 flight hours of hot-weather trials.
Also produced with the ALM process was an air intake baffle for a small aircraft flown in competitive air races. Replacing a relatively crude and aerodynamically inefficient wire mesh baffle, the new ALM-produced component incorporated staggered vanes to improve flow quality and minimise losses, as well as utilising a geometry that was difficult – if not impossible – to manufacture by any other means. The new air baffle was built in a process that took five days, from the CAD specifications to a ready-to-install component.
Did you know… ?
It is estimated that the weight of an optimised wing spar could be reduced by as much as 80% with ALM technology.