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Royal Netherlands Air Force

 

Find out how the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s introduction of Ultimaker 3D printers helped increase efficiency by printing specialized parts and tools. Interested how Ultimaker 3D printers can benefit your buisness? contact us using the button below.

Problem

The Royal Netherlands Air Force is comprised of many different kinds of, helicopters, fighter jets and large cargo planes. As a result, there are many different unique parts that are difficult to work on using basic off-the-self tools. Because of this the Royal Netherlands Air Force have started using Ultimaker 3D printers, to manufacture specific tools.

The main military base at Woensdreht is both the primary maintenance location, and academy for the Royal Netherlands Air Force. At the base repairs and maintenance are regularly being done on Apaches, Chinooks, F16s, NH90s and many others.

There is a small workshop ran at the academy by Bas Janssen, who is a member of the Ambition Innovation Results (AIR) division. Bas started hosting workshops for Ultimaker 3 printers and software. After getting familiar with the hardware and software, he started to notice opportunities to improve efficiency at the air base.

Maintenance-on-a-NH90

Solution

Using the Ultimaker Bas has been able to print numerous parts instead of outsourcing over the past two years, saving both time and money. One example of this is that when transporting a jet engine, openings need to be covered using a special cap. Beforehand this would have to be outsourced, costing a lot of money and taking a long time to be delivered. However, with the Ultimaker it only takes around two hours to print the caps.

 

Using the Ultimaker the Royal Netherlands Air Force have also created special tools to adjust equipment. For example, specific helicopter parts are hard to configure once installed. However, by 3D printing the part the adjustments can be made before installation, which saves multiple hours per aircraft. Other metal parts have to be CNC machined, but these can be 3D Printed to cost-effectively iterate the part.

 

Since Bas’ success the Air Force have started to expand their 3D printing activities. They are using an Ultimaker S5 to produce larger parts and start working with different materials. Now military engineers will be able to manufacture the correct tools, directly, locally and quickly.

Ultimaker-replacment-jet-parts

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