Airbus had 1,000 parts 3D printed to meet deadline

A350 takes off Image copyright Airbus
Image caption A350 XWB is to have more than 1,000 3D-printed parts

More than 1,000 parts on the Airbus A350 XWB jet were 3D printed with materials that only recently became available to use with the technique.

It means the aircraft has more 3D printed parts than any other before it.

One expert said it was a significant step because new lightweight materials could be used and produced to airline safety standards.

Stratasys, whose printers were used to make the parts, said it had reduced production time and costs.

Unprecedented scale

In a statement the US-Israeli firm said that its Stratasys FDM 3D Production System had been used to produce "more than 1,000" flight parts" for the first-of-its-type A350 XWB aircraft, delivered in December 2014.

The process helped Airbus ensure it met its own delivery deadlines to airlines.

"From what I can gather it's certainly unprecedented in scale," said James Woodcock, an expert on 3D printing with Rapid News.

"Historically, the use of 3D printed parts have been in military aircraft rather than commercial passenger jets."

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