Betting on 3D Printing & Digital warehouse to improve aircraft maintenance tool production

The story of Satair & Fast Radius

With the goal of reducing flight delays, Satair called upon Fast Radius to transform the speed and sustainability of aircraft maintenance tool delivery.

Satair is an Airbus services company that supplies aircraft parts, services and solutions to the aerospace industry. Fast Radius on the other hand, is a provider of additive manufacturing solutions.

Like in several markets, the key to position itself and succeed in flight maintenance service is to anticipate the needs of the market. Sometimes for instance, it is simply not possible to wait up to several weeks for a conventionally- manufactured maintenance tool. 

“Airlines rely on us when it comes to on-time delivery of urgently needed parts, and to keep this promise we have to constantly challenge our supply chain and logistics setup,” Felix Hammerschmidt, Head of Additive Manufacturing Solutions – ASYM, Satair.

In an era where digital solutions prevail, the Airbus company turned to Fast Radius to explore new solutions which should meet the same standard in terms of safety and security at which it was already operating.

When Fast Radius undertakes to make manufacturing faster and speed up logistics

At the manufacturing level, Fast Radius explored some additive manufacturing techniques that could fit for the production of aircraft tools Satair needed. The challenge for the provider of AM solutions was to produce parts that would meet the functional properties of parts that were usually conventionally manufactured.

The US-based company states that tools redesigned for AM haver a lighter weight, which improves handling and transport costs not to mention their impact on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. However, apart from HP Multi Jet Fusion, the manufacturer of parts also leveraged CNC technology for the production of some parts. Combining these two types of technology enabled Satair to benefit from the best price on the one hand, on the other hand, to reduce the total part numbers in the bill of materials (BOM) and to facilitate the integration of new functionalities.   

As for logistics, Fast Radius relies on a Virtual Warehouse™. Put simply, the AM specialist stores digital part files in the cloud, that could be produced on-demand, whenever and wherever they are needed. This solution is increasingly leveraged by industries across the world. Not only it avoids the production of parts that might not be used in the end, but it also enables manufacturers to save time and space.

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