Since the summer of 2011 the titanium and aluminum investment casting specialist TITAL has supplied titanium components for the Keel Beam for the Airbus A350XWB. The Keel Beam is a large structural component located on the bottom side of the aircraft fuselage directly behind the landing gear compartment. This area of the aircraft has a particularly sturdy design and has to bear massive mechanical stress. The stiffening elements made from titanium castings were among the first titanium parts that TITAL has produced for Airbus’ new long-haul aircraft. The first delivery of the A350XWB is projected for 2013. Thomas Stephan, Airbus Key-Account Manager at TITAL is happy about this important purchase order from Airbus: „This purchase order has a huge potential as it demonstrates the advantages of investment castings and Airbus has awarded long-term agreements for the A350XWB. “ The German company located in Bestwig is going to supply Airbus with about 2,400 titanium parts of this kind by the year 2020 – ready for assembly and partially painted.
TITAL manufactures the stiffening elements using the investment casting process. Normally, these parts with a relatively simple geometry would be produced by machining solid titanium material. After all, the stiffening elements for the Airbus are 600mm long and about 150mm high, looking like a one-sided ribbed sheet. The extremely low thickness of 2mm was a decisive factor to choose investment castings. „If you wanted to produce this part using machining processes, this would be a very demanding and comprehensive undertaking”, Thomas Stephan explains. Another disadvantage of machining would be the high scrap rate. Machining the part from solid material would result in approximately 95% of material waste in the form of titanium chips. This would also affect the part cost as the titanium chips can only be scrapped. As a consequence TITAL has achieved considerable cost savings through the use of the titanium investment casting process – a really cost-efficient production process for the stiffening elements.