Additive Manufacturing (3D) a challenge for new FAA certification approach

Additive Manufacturing poses challenge to FAA
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 Additive Manufacturing (3D) has an FAA Roadmap

 Dr. Gorelick highly qualified to drive the program

 Industry will help with PERFORMANCE standards?

FAA Drafts Plan to Regulate Additive Manufacturing of Aerospace Components


The first step towards the regulatory approval for use of Additive Manufacturing (3D manufacturing) in aviation occurred when Dr. Michael Gorelik, FAA chief scientific and technical adviser for fatigue and damage tolerance, announced that a roadmap towards that eventuality has been created. The FAA sent a draft version of its Additive Manufacturing Strategic Roadmap to the agency management team for evaluation and the document suggests production, certification, maintenance policies the agency aims to establish over the next seven to eight years.

This project will be a test of the FAA’s new certification philosophy in which the old prescriptive standards will be replaced by a performance approach. In recognition that technology was accelerating at a pace difficult for them to keep ahead or even abreast of, the new general aviation certification  initiative relies on industry standard-setting like ASTM. That group has already suggested a structure for this process.

ASTM /ISO standards

ASTM /ISO standards

The roadmap follows a couple of 3D parts already FAA approved for certificated aircraft. GE may have been first with its  3D printed fuel nozzle used in

Norsk titanium 3D manufacture- FAA approve

Norsk titanium 3D manufacture- FAA approv

the GE9X jet engine and then  Norsk received FAA approval on a 3D printed titanium part for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. As of March 2017, the University of Akron and Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services (AMES) are seeking FAA approval for its additive manufacturing based maintenance and repair system.




It appears that this strategic plan starts with safety critical  part and process certification, machine and part maintenance.

Michael Gorelik is the FAA’s leader on 3D manufacturing, has extraordinary qualifications for his position: Dr. Gorelik was an Engineering Fellow at Honeywell Aerospace working in the areas of life prediction and durability assessment of safety-critical components. His other leadership assignments included the roles of life methods manager, reliability and system safety manager, and program manager responsible for deployment of enterprise-wide material data management system. Dr. Gorelik also served as a principal investigator on a number of research programs funded by the FAA, Air Force, NASA, DARPA, and Army.

Dr.Michael Gorelik

     Dr. Michael Gorelik


Dr. Gorelik has authored or co-authored over 40 peer-reviewed papers and conference presentations, and one patent application. He has delivered technical training to several hundred engineers, managers, and aviation professionals, and made a number of keynote presentations at national and international conferences.

Dr. Gorelik currently serves as the Point Contact for the ASME IGTI Structures and Dynamics Committee, and a member of the America Makes governance board. He participates in Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) on Fatigue and Damage Tolerance of Transport Airplane Metallic and Composite Structures.

Member, professional organizations and societies:
Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
America Makes (NCDMM)
Industry and government awards:
Honeywell Technical Achievement Award (2008)
Honeywell Technical Achievement Award (2005)
R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine
NASA Turning Goals Into Reality (TGIR) Award
Academic achievement:
Post-Doctorate Studies in Fracture Mechanics, University of Illinois at Chicago
Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics, University of Illinois at Chicago
MBA, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University
B.S. and M.S. in Engineering Mechanics, Leningrad Polytechnic Institute, Russia
Professional certifications:
Six Sigma Master Black Belt (MBB), General Electric
Project Management Professional (PMP), PMI
Lean Expert, Honeywell Aerospace
Six Sigma Black Belt, AlliedSignal Aerospace



His comments at a recent Additive Manufacturing conference sheds some light on the direction and difficulty of this project:

 “Three to four years ago, none of my peers believed we would see additive manufacturing of safety-critical parts,” he said. “We don’t have them yet, but based on the leading indicators I see it’s coming and it’s coming fairly fast.”

Gorelik thinks there are several ways the FAA could proceed following the dissemination of the Additive Manufacturing Strategic Roadmap. One very important step, however, will be classifying the multitude of different additive manufacturing processes available to manufacturers.

“One could try to group them by source of raw material, for example powder versus wire, and by the source of energy used to melt the material, laser versus electron beam versus plasma arc,” Gorelik said. “This variety of processes is great from the technology and business standpoint because it gives industry a great deal of flexibility.”

“This is a huge technical problem scope,” Gorelik added. “It would be impractical for any single entity to try to address it single handedly. In my mind, collaboration is the key to ensure the safe introduction of this exciting new technology in commercial as well as military aerospace.”

The FAA’s Research, Engineering and Development Advisory Committee (REDAC) reviewed the FAA efforts as to 3D manufacturing and made the following supportive comments:


Finding: Additive Manufacturing – The Subcommittee finds that progress has been made in accelerating research activities around the topic of additive manufacturing. The Additive Manufacturing National Team (AMNT) is in place with an approved charter and initial documents have been released to the Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) and Manufacturing Inspection District Office (MIDO) to aid in the certification of parts produced by additive manufacturing methods. Collaborations are also ongoing with industry organizations including Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to establish working groups and committees. (10.20.2016)

Clearly, the industry will be following the FAA’s progress, not just of a daily basis, but with a figurative GPS with moment-by-moment updates for the emerging guidance may do more than reduce the cost of manufacturing, but may also contribute to a higher standard of production meeting precise specifications.




spheres of influence in AM sector

                                          spheres of influence in AM sector







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