DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa) plans to introduce laser welding in aircraft manufacturing for the first time with the start of fuselage production for the Airbus A318 next year.

The German company says the new technique promises to cut fuselage manufacturing costs by "about 20%" and weight by "up to 10%". Building costs are lower because laser welding is "much faster than conventional riveting", according to Dasa.

The welding technique will replace the use of rivets for attaching stringers to fuselage shells and is expected to be employed in the production of the yet-to-be-launched A3XX ultra-high-capacity airliner.

Dasa began the development of laser welding in 1995, with the work partly funded by the German Government.

Other participants in the project included Hoogovens Aluminium Rolled Products, as well as several German research institutes.

Source: Flight International