Next Generation Additively Manufactured Aircraft Seat Structure

Next Generation Additively Manufactured Aircraft Seat Structure

Case Studies Next Generation Additively Manufactured Aircraft Seat Structure

The MTC, in partnership with Assystem has demonstrated the capability of using Additive Manufacturing (AM) to enable 30% weight savings for aircraft seat structures.

 

“Working with the MTC has provided the ability to push new AM technology into the aerospace development lifecycle. Digitalisation to optimise design has achieved light-weighting and reduced costs. It will be a driving factor for the next decade.” Pete Dalton, Head of Design UK, Assystem

 

The Challenge

  • Typical economy class seats today weigh around 12-13 kilograms. Achieving weight saving under strict sizing and loading regulations can be difficult using conventional manufacturing methods.
  • To achieve weight saving, Assystem were looking to develop expertise in design for Additive Manufacturing (AM), specifically through the use of Electron Beam Melting (EBM), to gain in-depth knowledge of AM possibilities.

MTC's solution

  • In partnership with Assystem, the MTC helped with the redesign of the seat bracket, using AM topology optimisation software to form a lighter structure. 
  • The full seat structure was manufactured in titanium using the EBM process, providing a solution via non-conventional manufacturing.
  • The MTC developed and optimised EBM parameters to minimise process defects and improved part integrity.
  • Post-processing of the AM part, including polishing to improve the surface finish was carried out, followed by an inspection using X-Ray Computed Tomography (XCT).

The Outcome

  • A demonstration of how AM can be used to manufacture complex geometries
  • Weight savings by 30% through topology optimisation
  • The MTC developed process parameters to improve the integrity of AM parts
  • Validation of the part quality through Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) using XCT, providing Assystem with a greater understanding of detection of defects, and quality analysis for AM parts

Benefits to the client

  • Weight savings of 30% on seat structure, leading to reduction in costs for client
  • Increased knowledge of the AM process, including understanding the role, requirements and influence of topology optimisation and post-processing
  • Increased knowledge of design and validation of highly complex and efficient geometries for AM production, to support existing aerospace AM capability
“We see Additive Manufacturing being a key enabler in the industry to achieve improvements. As the aerospace industry heads into a decade of incremental development, maturing AM to reduce cost and weight will bring more efficient products to market quicker. This will be a game-changer and the MTC has assisted in proving this capability.” Pete Dalton, Head of Design UK, Assystem

Related information

We are working at the forefront of applied technology. The job is exciting and varied and every day brings a new challenge.
Dr Katy Milne
Technology Manager, Metrology and NDT