The last two years (2015 and 2016) could be looked upon as the tipping point for direct metal printing (DMP) within the aerospace industry, as the technology increasingly made the jump beyond prototyping to production parts and assemblies ready for flight.
This 3D printing process is also referred to as additive manufacturing. The process makes use of a digital template to create a solid, three-dimensional object. 3D printing processes are now being used in a wide range of industries. KUKA Industries has taken on the role of leading technology company in a consortium of project partners aiming to develop 3D printing capabilities for the automotive and aerospace industries. The development partner, which specializes in joining technology, has been officially involved in the generative manufacture of high-performance lightweight components since February.