Using Leapfrog 3D printers for aircraft prototyping and tooling by KLM

A tool holder manufactured by 3D Printing while inspection on aircraft engines.


Leapfrog, headquartered in Netherlands is now telling us how KLM Engineering and Maintenance benefits from 3D printing in its technology and new design and tooling production.

KLm Spare part tooling holder
KLm Spare part tooling holder

One of the early adopters of Leapfrog disrupting machines was Dutch airline, which installed one of the company’s early products called Creatr about 5 years ago in order to improve lead time for internal tooling and to produce cabin component prototypes before going into production.

So this happened to purchasing a Leapfrog Bolt Pro to expand their production capabilities. This 3D Printer is a desktop Plastic extrusion featuring 2 extrudes, enabling the whole system production of 2 identical parts at once. This is not the end, since the machine is industrial-friendly to produce high-temperature engineering material which comes to be ideal for aircraft component prototyping.

Leapfrog 3D Printer Bolt Pro
Leapfrog 3D Printer Bolt Pro

Process Engineer of KLM; Maarten Ottevanger says:

I certainly recommend the Bolt Pro because of its rigidity, its large print bed and the two print heads which double the print speed once more similar parts are needed. I think the Leapfrog Bolt Pro is very suitable for engineering and prototyping and even producing small series of plastic parts.

Dutch airline is not too lonely adopting 3D Printing and Additive manufacturing process in its workflow since this technology is being widely used across the aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul(MRO) industry. Big names like Etihad, Emirates, Lufthansa are emerging more and more by using 3D Printing into their engineering departments to reduce costly lead times.

According to KLM numbers, and standard passenger plane has more than 30.000 components which will lead to unplanned maintenance by 50% each year. Even an airline has a huge inventory of spare parts, delays are inevitable because maybe only 1 part could be not immediately available.

3D Printing gives quicker solutions at this situations which enables manufactures to get the part faster than ever.

[Source] TCT Magazine

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