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3D printing, married to traditional metal casting, could reshape manufacturing

Lucas Mearian | June 19, 2017
A proof-of-concept project could save airlines hundreds of millions of dollars.

What is also unique about Autodesk and Aristo Cast's proof-of-concept project is they not only reduced an airline seat weight with a more sophisticated frame design, but they were able to cast in magnesium -- no simple task.

a380 fuelcarbon reductions
Autodesk. Fuel and carbon emission reductions based on using the new magnesium airline seats.
Click on chart to enlarge.

Typically, aluminum is used for airplane seats, but magnesium is 35% lighter. Autodesk's 3D design optimization resulted in more than half of the weight reduction and the magnesium accounted for the rest, Autodesk claims.

For Aristo Cast, combining a newer technology like 3D printing with proven metal casting techniques could spur new growth in its industry.

"Many foundries are reluctant to invest in additive. We see that as a big mistake. Global competition requires us to up our game. We don't see additive as a threat to our business. On the contrary, we embrace combining the new with the 6000-year-old process of casting to produce the highest-quality parts you can find anywhere," Aristo Cast's CEO, Jack Ziemba, said in a statement. "To us, adopting new techniques like additive manufacturing, when blended with our expertise in casting, is a way forward -- not just for our company but for lots of other foundries in the Midwest."

 

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