3D Printers In The Modernization Programmes Of The Polish Air Force’s MiG-29 and Su-22 Jets

  • Fot. 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.
    Fot. 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.
  • Fot. Domena Publiczna
    Fot. Domena Publiczna
  • Fot.

Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze Nr 2 [Military Aviation Works No. 2] facility is using 3D printers manufactured by the Polish Zortrax company within the scope of modernization of the Polish Su-22 and MiG-29 fighters. This type of devices makes it possible to speed up the design process regarding the parts that are installed within the airframes.

3D Printers are being utilized in the process, the aim of which is to modernize the Polish MiG-29 and Su-22 fighters. The procedure is being realized by the Military Aviation Works No. 2 facility in Bydgoszcz. The printers are used to model the parts which are later installed on the airplanes, which significantly reduces the time needed to carry out the operation.

According to the information provided by the Zortax company, before the 3D printers were introduced, after the specific component had been designed by the WZL No. 2 engineers, there was a requirement to execute a time-consuming modelling process, each time when a new part was developed. Currently, when one uses a 3D printer, models of the elements which are to be used within the Su-22 and MiG-29 airframes may be machined within a couple of hours.

These elements are subsequently tailored to the structure of the airframe, in order to verify the compliance of the parameters of the part designed prior to that procedure. After the design passes the tests, series production of the newly created elements may start. Using the 3D printing technology made it possible to shorten the time between the design stage and stage of series production. All of the above means that the modernization process has been made more effective.

Zortrax stresses the fact that 3D printers are also used in order to tailor the MiG-29 and the Su-22 aircraft to the NATO standards. 3D printers are being primarily used to model the main landing gear axles or the elements of the rudder control mechanism. The printers’ role is also to support the component design process in case of the components that are being used by the civilian aircraft.

Military Aviation Works No. 2 plant located in Bydgoszcz is a company which carries out works for the Polish Air Force. The facility deals with maintenance, modernization and implementation of additional equipment for the MiG-29 and Su-22 jets, in order to tailor them to the NATO standards. Back in 2014 the process of modernization of the fighters stationed in the 23rd Air Base in Minsk Mazowiecki was completed.

Zortrax Inventure Printer
Zortrax Inventure Printer. Image credit: Zortrax.

Zortrax is a Polish company dealing with design and manufacturing of the 3D printers, with its headquarters located in Olsztyn. Formally, the company has been present in the market since January 2014, it is also acting within the export markets in Asia, Australia and the Americas. According to the financial statement of the Zortrax Company, its income is generated mainly thanks to the Intra-community and export sales. Back in 2014, the company’s sales income reached the amount of PLN 12.5 million, while the net profit value was contained in PLN 2.83 million. Next year, the Zortrax is expected to mark its début at the Warsaw Stock Exchange.