As manufacturers look to the future to define how 3D printing and connected processes can better meet their business demands and reduce supply chain complexities, the task of certifying a part within this changing environment can be overwhelming given the lengthy process and the many steps that are required to meet airworthiness regulations. Understanding the process can greatly enhance the outcome and reduce unnecessary delays or frustrations. The FAA is working with aviation and business leaders to help remove some of this friction by tailoring certification tracks that meet the needs and demands of the fast changing industry. In the case of additive manufacturing, we have leveraged decades of process development in the composites manufacturing space, to chart a very similar course for the certification of 3D printed parts.
In conjunction with America Makes, industry partners, and the National Institute for Aviation Research, and under the oversight of the FAA, we have launched the qualification of the Fused Deposition Modeling technology on a new configuration of the Fortus 900mc. The result is a highly repeatable process, with full documentation and traceability, and a B-Basis Allowables database that will speed certification of FDM parts for aircraft interiors around the world.