USA-based Boom Supersonic—a startup company focused on the development of a supersonic passenger jet capable of flying faster than the Concorde—and Stratasys, a provider of 3D printing solutions, have announced the signing of a three-year technical partnership agreement.
The move is described as a significant step towards the realization of supersonic travel and involves Boom Supersonic utilizing Stratasys’s fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing technology, materials and services to accelerate production of parts and tooling for its aircraft.
Boom Supersonic unveiled the XB-1 supersonic demonstrator, a prototype one-third the size of its planned commercial-scale jet, in November 2016 and received the funding necessary to build and fly it in April 2017. The company intends to exploit the design freedom, exceptional production speeds and cost efficiencies afforded by additive manufacturing (AM) in order to make the XB-1’s first test flight in 2018 possible.
Stratasys’s Fortus 450mc and F370 3D printers are to be deployed at Boom Supersonic’s headquarters in Denver, Colorado, for the enhancement of both engineering and manufacturing functions. The printers can be used to build production-grade thermoplastic parts as well as composite tooling deemed fit for purpose in aviation’s most challenging environments.
The supersonic passenger jet, itself named Boom, is expected to reach speeds of up to 1,451 mph (2,335 kph), making it 2.6 times faster than any other aircraft. To put this into perspective, a typical London to New York flight time is reduced from seven hours to just over three.
Blake Scholl, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Boom, said: ‘Supersonic flight has existed for over 50 years, but the technology hasn’t existed to make it affordable for routine commercial travel. Today’s significant advances in aerodynamics, engine design, additive manufacturing and carbon fiber composite materials are transforming the industry at all levels. Additive manufacturing helps accelerate development of a new generation of aircraft.
‘With a proven track-record of success across aviation and aerospace, Stratasys now becomes a key catalyst in our design and production processes, helping to transform the future of aviation through the power of 3D printing.’
Rich Garrity, president of the Americas for Stratasys, further commented: ‘Boom is working towards a major breakthrough in supersonic, commercial airline travel and we’re excited Stratasys is now playing a strategic role in helping them achieve their goals. We are proud to add Boom Supersonic to a roster of leading aerospace companies successfully implementing our additive manufacturing solutions to deliver new innovations in aviation.
‘Stratasys’ engineering-grade, high-efficiency 3D printing solutions are perfectly suited for producing the complex part designs and custom manufacturing tools this industry demands.’
Both companies will be present at the Paris Air Show, taking place on 19-25 June, 2017.