ECA : ECA Group partners with Prodways and completes the Additive Manufacturing / 3D printing offer for the Aerospace sector

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Drawing on its strong presence of more than 20 years in the Aerospace industry, ECA Group continues to work alongside major players in the Aerospace sector as an industry player and partners with Prodways, a French company and subsidiary of Groupe Gorgé, specialized in 3D printing for the industry.

This partnership, which is part of the process of technological breakthrough in manufacturing methods, focuses firstly on production, inspection and maintenance tools. The development and completion of these tools, using the various available Additive Layer Manufacturing technologies, offer immediate benefits to the Aerospace sector, such as weight reduction, production cost savings and reduced manufacturing time.

This new technology strives for a smaller number of parts through the creation of shapes that were impossible to create through conventional machining processes until now. In applications that have already been developed, the number of parts is reduced by a factor of six, leading to considerable improvements in terms of tool ergonomics and the speed of implementation. Furthermore, the use of new polymer materials not only removes the risk of damaging aircraft components, but also leads to operating gains through the reduction or even elimination of regular geometrical inspections.

A first success was achieved through this collaboration. The tools manufactured are already being used in industrial operations on aeronautic production sites, and maintenance equipment (GSE) is being approved on aircraft prior to their implementation over the next few months.

An integrated industrial team, which comprises on the one hand ECA Group expert engineer teams developing aeronautic tooling solutions and, on the other hand, Prodways industrialization and production teams with more than 20 years' experience in additive manufacturing, enables to guarantee the characteristics and performance expected from tooling solutions specific to 3D printing in the Aerospace sector. In addition, the fleet of 30 Prodways machines covering the various metal and polymer technologies currently available provides essential opportunities to use this new manufacturing method to optimize ECA Group's Additive Layer Manufacturing solutions.

Fore measurement tools
Technology: Stereolithography

  • Engine pylon metrology lab (measuring robot coupled with laser tracker)
  • Jigs for transferring aircraft pylon referentials (aft fitting)
  • Simplification and compatibility of the measurement operation process

3D printing effect:

  • Reduced inspection cycle time
  • User-friendly tooling (weight optimization)
  • Reduced manufacturing cost

Aft measuring jigs
Technology: Stereolithography

 

  • Engine pylon metrology lab (measuring robot coupled with laser tracker)
  • Jigs for transferring aircraft pylon referentials (aft fitting)
  • Simplification and compatibility of the measurement operation process

3D printing effect:

  • Reduced inspection cycle time
  • User-friendly tooling (weight optimization)
  • Reduced manufacturing cost

GSE
Technology: Plastic Laser Sintering

  • Tooling allowing main canopy flaps to be held in the open position
  • Historically made of aluminium by milling and composed of 10 parts
  • Now manufactured on EOS® P380

3D printing effect:

  • 60% reduction in cost
  • User-friendly equipment, fast to implement, reduced from 10 parts to only 4 parts
  • Eliminates risk of damaging the composite canopy
  • No need to maintain stock, manufactured on request

GSE
Technology: Plastic Laser Sintering

  • Tooling allowing main canopy flaps to be held in the open position
  • Historically made of aluminium by milling and composed of 10 parts
  • Now manufactured on EOS® P380

3D printing effect:

  • 60% reduction in cost
  • User-friendly equipment, fast to implement, reduced from 10 parts to only 4 parts
  • Eliminates risk of damaging the composite canopy
  • No need to maintain stock, manufactured on request

Moreover, ECA Group is implementing Additive Layer Manufacturing across all of its areas of activity by integrating the method into the industrialization of various product subsets in Robotics & Embedded Systems, such as airborne, land and naval drones.

The global 3D printing market in the Aerospace sector was valued at $0.8 billion in 2014. With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% over 5 years, the 3D printing market in the Aeronautics sector should reach $2.6 billion in 2020*.

*source: Wohlers report, A.T. Kearney analysis
Disclaimer
This press release could contain statements on past events and forward-looking statements including statements regarding future goals or targets. Forward-looking statements reflect current expectations for results and future events.

Such forward-looking statements and targets depend on known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those anticipated herein. All these risks and uncertainties could affect the Group's future ability to achieve its targets. Risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results anticipated in the forward-looking statements and targets include, among other things: the risks and uncertainties possibly mentioned in this press release; the strength of competition; the growth of the market; currency fluctuations; interest rate fluctuations; raw materials and freight price fluctuations; armed conflicts or political instability; obtaining the export authorizations that may be required for certain activities; control of costs and expenses; changes in tax legislation, rules, regulation or enforcement; our ability to successfully keep pace with technology changes; our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel and key-men; the evolution, interpretation and uniform application and enforcement of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), according to which we prepare our financial statements; supply chain bottlenecks; the performance of our business partners (subcontractors, agents, suppliers, etc.).

Some of these risk factors are set forth and detailed in our Document de Référence (Registration Document including the annual financial report filed with the French Autorité des Marchés Financiers). This list of risks, uncertainties and other factors is not limitative. Other non-anticipated, unknown or unforeseeable factors could also have material adverse effect on our targets. The Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to update or revise any forward-looking statements or targets potentially contained in this press release to reflect any change in events, conditions, assumptions or circumstances on which any such statements are based.

To find out more, go to ECA Group's website:

http://www.ecagroup.com
 

Web site Actusnews.com :

http://actusnews.com
 

ECA Group
 

The ECA Group is renowned for its expertise in robotics, automated systems, simulation and industrial processes. Ever since 1936 it has been developing complete innovative technological solutions to perform complex missions in hostile or restrictive environments.

Its products are used by a demanding international clientèle requiring the highest levels of safety and efficiency, mainly in the sectors of defence, maritime, aerospace, simulation, energy and industrial equipment.

In 2013, the Group reported revenue of 94 M€ for its three Departments: Robotics, Aerospace and Simulation. 
 

ECA Group is a Groupe Gorgé company.

ECA Group is listed on Euronext Paris Compartiment C.

Indices : SBF 250, CAC SMALL 90 et CAC IT- ISIN code : FR0010099515
Mnémo : ECASA - Code Bloomberg : ECASA:FP
Contacts
 

Actus Finance
 

Anne-Pauline PETUREAUX
Analysts/Investors
Relations
T : +33 (0)1 53 67 35 74
apetureaux@actus.fr
 

Jean-Michel MARMILLON
Press Relations
T : +33(0)1 53 67 07 80
jmmarmillon@actus.fr
 

ECA Group
 

Raphaël GORGE
President
T : +33 (0)1 44 77 94 00
 

Guenaël GUILLERME
Managing Director
T : +33 (0)4 94 08 90 00
 


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