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Aidro to Supply Leonardo Helicopters with Additively Manufactured Aluminum Flight Parts

AW139 Atlantic Airways from LLOYD HORGAN© by Lloyd Horgan, Leonardo Helicopters

Aidro, a subsidiary of Desktop Metal, has become a qualified supplier of additively manufactured aluminum flight parts for the helicopter division of Leonardo. Aidro is one of only two suppliers to receive the Declaration for Qualification of Process for Additive Layer Manufacturing with Leonardo.

“We are proud to be selected by Leonardo Helicopters as a qualified supplier of 3D-printed aluminum flight parts,” said Tommaso Tirelli, CEO and VP of Business Development of Aidro. “The components we are producing for Leonardo are parts that require extensive knowledge in managing fluids and fluid power, which has always been Aidro’s main competence. This is a great opportunity for our company to demonstrate how end users like Leonardo can leverage additive technologies to achieve significant weight savings and reduce the number of components.”

Leonardo offers an extensive range of modern helicopters for the commercial, public services, security, and defense industries, which are deployed in more than 150 countries worldwide. The company manages all stages of research, design, development, production, customer support, and training for its advanced vertical flight solutions — from the 1.8-ton single-engine category to 16-ton three-engine aircraft — to enable operators to carry out their missions efficiently and safely.

“Leonardo is committed to introducing and expanding the use of additive manufacturing on its rotorcraft products, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by its unique capabilities,” said Dario Bonanno, industrial engineering manager for Leonardo. “The availability of a qualified supply chain is a fundamental requirement to support the industrial sustainability of the company’s technological road map.”

According to Aidro, the aerospace industry is the ideal sector to take advantage of the benefits of additive manufacturing, as it opens up possibilities for lightweighting and more compact and complex components. In the highly-regulated aerospace industry where safety is paramount, metal additive manufacturing requires qualification prior to use. Aidro achieved its AS/EN9100 certification in 2018, thereby gaining access to the aerospace industry and allowing the business to entertain collaborations with a range of companies of the sector.

“In addition to supporting Leonardo with design, Aidro also organizes training sessions and knowledge-sharing on additive manufacturing with its employees,” said Valeria Tirelli, president and CEO of Aidro. “This joining of forces and continuous process of mutual learning becomes essential in such a fast-changing environment to be able to design, create and recreate products of high value. With our shared roots in Northern Italy and the combined expertise of our teams, we truly believe the sky’s the limit with Leonardo.”

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