The 3D-printed ladder bracket is 40% lighter but stronger and more durable than the original design. 3D printing enables the Royal Netherlands Air Force to have parts produced faster, reduce maintenance costs, and at the end improve the deployability of her weapon systems. The Royal Netherlands Air Force commissioned the development of the ladder bracket. The project was a collaborative venture, with Fokker Aerostructures responsible for engineering, NLR-Netherlands Aerospace Center for 3D printing and testing, BPO-Delft for redesign and the Defence Materiel Organisation for certification.
NLR is receiving more and more new questions about additive manufacturing, such as the production of products that are metres long. A business case is now being drawn up for a device in response to questions from the market.