With its new campus, Safran launches the aircraft of the future

It is in Haillan, on the outskirts of Bordeaux, not far from the training center of the Girondins de Bordeaux football team, that Safran has just landed the three shots of the plane of the future. On Friday 7 October, the French engine manufacturer inaugurated the Safran Additive Manufacturing Campus (SAMC), a complex that brings together in a single 12,000 square meter site all the knowledge and industrial resources necessary for the production of engine parts using additive manufacturing. . This advanced technology is a way to adapt to the 3D printing industry. It brings together all the processes that make it possible to produce parts by adding material from a digital object. It is the first plant of this type in France and the second in the world.

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As Safran explains, “Additive manufacturing is a real resource for the aeronautical sector, because it allows the production of parts that were previously impossible to obtain with other production methods”. In practice, as for 3D printing, fine metal powders, titanium, nickel or aluminum are subsequently deposited on a plate, while a laser beam melts the metal and gives shape to the piece previously developed on the computer. At SAMC you have to wear a lab coat and wear an FFP3 mask, even more filtering than the FFP2 used to ward off the coronavirus, before entering the production area, the “Santo Sancta”.

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For Safran, this new plant represents “a strategic question”. The group invested 80 million euros in Haillan to bring this technology to the industrial scene. It must be said that additive manufacturing allows to optimize the geometry of the parts. This means that, unlike manufacturing in a foundry or forge, the process allows you to produce only the useful part or parts of a part that is pre-designed on a computer.

“Decarbonising the aerospace industry”

The engine manufacturer and, more generally, the aeronautical sector see the advent of additive manufacturing as an impetus for the implementation of the aircraft of the future and carbon neutral air transport by 2050. Target voted on Friday 7 October by 193 member countries of the ‘International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), meeting in Montreal. Additive manufacturing will do “Decarbonising the aviation industry”, exclaims François-Xavier Foubert, CEO of SAMC. Mainly because it will allow to produce “Much lighter parts”. A “mass gain from 20% to 30%” which is a turning point, welcomes the manager. When in a foundry, to produce a 1 kilo part, you have to use 10 kilos of material, with additive manufacturing a 400 gram part requires only 600 grams of raw material.

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