JPB Système, a manufacturer of efficiency-enhancing technology solutions for aerospace, aeronautic and other industries, based in Montereau-sur-le-Jard, France, has reported extremely positive results from its continued research into the benefits and application possibilities of Additive Manufacturing. In recent trials, this has seen the business cut reported overall lead times by 80% on some parts and secure weight-savings of 30%.
“This is an important tick-in the-box for OEM customers and those further up the supply chain who are constantly seeking to reduce the overall weight of the aircraft,” stated Benjamin Sangouard, Research Engineer, JPB Système. “A lighter aircraft means less fuel, which means less cost and reduced emissions, which is of course important from a sustainability perspective.”
“The sustainability factor is further demonstrated by the on-demand manufacturing principle of AM that enables companies like us to produce what is needed, when it is needed, rather than traditional techniques that obligate long production runs just to ensure cost-effectiveness,” continued Sangouard. “This would give us greater flexibility and reduce the need to store large quantities of stock.”
The company has been trialling industrial-grade metal Binder Jetting (BJT) technology for several months as part of its ongoing objective to enable higher efficiency and agility across its production operations. The results of these trials are said to be meeting expectations, delivering robust lighter-weight alternatives quicker, easier and more cost effectively than traditional manufacturing methods. By leveraging this technology, the company is also able to create complex products with new geometries, further streamlining production efficiencies by removing the need for assembly.
“As we anticipated, our trials of [BJT] technology underscore how its versatility and ability to reduce time and costs offer huge benefits for us as a company and for our customers,” stated Jocelyn Vecchio, Director of Engineering and Innovation at JPB Système.
“Such production efficiencies are evidenced if we compare the technology to the typical method of producing parts via casting in a foundry,” Vecchio continued. “As well as having limitations insofar as the geometries achievable, this involves expensive tooling that can entail long lead times of around six months – even longer if geometries change and a new mould is required. In contrast, using [BJT] Additive Manufacturing, we could produce the same part in about four weeks; that’s a decrease in time of more than 80%, which ultimately means we speed up delivery times to customers. The flexibility of this technology also means that, it doesn’t take any longer to produce 100 different parts than it would 100 identical parts.”
JPB Système has also noted benefits from the way in which AM enables greater design freedom to produce complex products much more easily. This includes the consolidation of two parts into one, or products that accommodate one element inside another – something not typically achievable with conventional manufacturing techniques.
In one example, this allowed the team to produce an assembled multi-component functional system that offers multiple advantages by incorporating three components into one. Thanks to a reduced number of parts, the supply chain is simplified and assembly time is removed. From a safety aspect, the eventuality of foreign object damage to the engine is all but eliminated.
JPB Système has expressed its intention to open a start-of-the-art facility in Villaroche in 2023, which is partly government funded through an initiative designed to accelerate industry growth and help manufacturing companies. The eventual integration of AM is expected to underpin the new facility’s automated production lines, once operational.
“So far, our exploration into the application possibilities of [BJT] have proved very successful and offer significant potential in our quest to innovate our production processes to better meet the needs of our customers,” Vecchio concluded.