PPG has announced that it recently supplied Lockheed Martin with sets of six custom-designed ramp seals for the aft loading ramp of the C-130J Super Hercules military tactical airlifter. This is PPG’s first commercial sale of 3D printed components.
PPG created the ramp seals via additive manufacturing using a patented ambient reactive extrusion (ARE) technology called PPG ARE that results in easy-to-install parts made from PPG’s production qualified aerospace sealant. The 3D-printing process enables PPG to customise the design of various parts, such as ramp seals, for continuous process improvement while increasing sustainability.
Conventional manufacturing processes involve subtractive manufacturing, which requires removal of excess materials to create the desired part. With additive manufacturing, the exact amount of material is deposited in the precise layout and design of the part, thereby reducing waste, saving energy, eliminating the rework of a manually created product and shortening the time required to bring the product to market.
“With additive manufacturing, we’ve automated a manual process for producing these ramp seals,” said Cindy Kutchko, PPG senior group leader, additive manufacturing, aerospace. “By creating shelf-stable parts that are quick to install, we are able to save our customers significant production time and a cost savings of more than 30% compared to current manufacturing processes.”
PPG is working with Cosine Additive to expand PPG ARE large-scale 3D printing capabilities. The first 3D printer using PPG ARE technology for commercial applications has been installed at PPG’s Application Support Centre (ASC) in Los Angeles. PPG’s position as a global paint, coatings and specialty materials provider combined with the size, speed and accuracy of the PPG ARE thermoset technology in these 3D printers enable the creation of durable and functional parts that were previously difficult to produce.
“These 3D printed components are a game-changer for the C-130J Super Hercules,” said Rod McLean, vice-president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business. “PPG’s ARE technology is an outstanding example of how manufacturing innovation and evolution combine to deliver affordable, customized and durable components for our operators.”