Belgian group Sonaca develops, manufactures and assembles advanced structures for the civil and military aviation and aerospace markets. It is mainly known for its expertise in wing movables, in which it has over 50% of the market share. It employs more than 2,500 people worldwide.
“Additive manufacturing has long demonstrated that it can produce high-quality parts. But successfully producing parts qualified for the aviation and aerospace industries in a cost-effective way goes one step further – and an ambitious step at that!”
Sonaca currently uses traditional methods to manufacture parts and structures for aircraft and satellites, but these methods have their limitations: the titanium alloy used is difficult to process and assembling the components takes time and makes the structures heavier. Sonaca therefore enlisted the help of a number of partners, including Sirris, to ascertain whether it could use additive manufacturing technologies to more easily produce and optimise complex parts.
Initial observations are promising. In late 2015, a metal part with a complex shape was produced. It is a T-shaped tubular structure that forms part of an aircraft wing anti-icing system. Two other partners – Samtech and GD Tech – will help Sonaca optimise the shape. The first version of the part was produced in Sirris’s installations, using an additive manufacturing technology called electron beam melting.
Het project zal nog The project will continue for three years and be extended to include other kinds of parts, which will also then be optimised. Much of the work will involve checking that the parts produced and optimised still meet all the requirements of the aviation and aerospace industries.