| SEATTLE, April 10
SEATTLE, April 10 Boeing Co hired Norsk
Titanium AS to print the first structural titanium parts for its
787 Dreamliner, the Norwegian 3-D printing company said on
Monday, paving the way to cost savings of $2 million to $3
million for each plane.
The contract is a major step in Boeing's effort to cut the
cost of its barely profitable 787 and a sign of growing
industrial acceptance of 3-D printing technology, which is
replacing more expensive traditional ways of manufacturing
Strong, lightweight titanium alloy is seven times more
costly than aluminum, and accounts for about $17 million of the
cost of a $265 million Dreamliner, industry sources say.
Boeing has been trying to reduce the cost of titanium on the
787, which requires more of the metal than other models because
of its carbon-fiber composite fuselage and wings. Titanium also
is used extensively on Airbus Group SE's carbon-fiber
"This means $2 million to $3 million in savings for each
Dreamliner, at least," starting in 2018, Chip Yates, Norsk
Titanium's vice president of marketing, said in a telephone
Norsk worked with Boeing for more than a year to design four
787 parts and obtain Federal Aviation Administration
certification for them.
Norsk expects the U.S. regulatory agency will approve the
material properties and production process for the parts later
this year, which would "open up the floodgates" and allow Norsk
to print thousands of different parts for each Dreamliner,
without each part requiring separate FAA approval, Yates said.
"You're talking about tons, literally," on the 787 that
would be printed instead of made with traditional, expensive
forging and machining, he said.
(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)