With its new campus, Safran is launching the aircraft of the future

It is in Haillan, in the suburbs of Bordeaux, not far from the training center of the Girondins de Bordeaux football team, that Safran has really just struck the three blows of the aircraft of the future. On Friday, October 7, the French engine manufacturer inaugurated the Safran Additive Manufacturing Campus (SAMC), a complex that brings together on 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 of adapting to the 3D printing industry. It brings together all the processes that make it possible to manufacture 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 asset for the aeronautics sector, because it allows the production of parts previously impossible to obtain by other manufacturing methods”. In practice, as for 3D printing, fine metal powders, titanium, nickel or aluminum are deposited successively on a plate, while a laser beam fuses the metal and gives its shape to the part. previously developed by computer. At the SAMC, you have to put on a gown and wear an FFP3 mask, even more filtering than the FFP2 used to ward off the coronavirus, before entering the production area, the “holy of holies”.

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For Safran, this new plant represents “a strategic issue”. The group has invested 80 million euros in Haillan to bring this technology to the industrial stage. It must be said that additive manufacturing makes it possible to optimize the geometry of parts. This means that, unlike production in a foundry or a forge, the process makes it possible to manufacture only the useful part or parts of a part designed beforehand on a computer.

“Decarbonizing the aerospace industry”

The engine manufacturer and, more generally, the aeronautical sector see the advent of additive manufacturing as a boost to the implementation of the aircraft of the future and to carbon-neutral air transport by 2050. objective voted on Friday, October 7, by the 193 member countries of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), gathered in Montreal. Additive manufacturing will “decarbonize the aeronautical industry”, exclaims François-Xavier Foubert, CEO of SAMC. Mainly, because it will make it possible to produce “much lighter parts”. A “mass gain of 20% to 30%” which is a game-changer, welcomes the leader. 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 only requires 600 grams of raw material.

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