Additive Manufacturing Today

Ti6Al4V aerospace flange

BeAM and PFW Aerospace are glad to announce their partnership to qualify an aerospace component for a large civil passenger aircraft using Ti6Al4V which fulfils typical aerospace quality requirements. In addition, this collaboration focuses on industrialising the DED process to manufacture series components.

In the midst of the fourth industrial revolution and its associated digitalisation of industrial manufacturing, additive manufacturing is becoming a significant future-oriented alternative to conventional manufacturing methods. Additive manufacturing processes for certain applications have clear benefits, above all in the aerospace industry, in which component weight, low production volumes and small batch numbers play a significant role.

PFW has been scanning technological developments and the market for additive manufacturing processes for four years. It is an international tier one supplier of systems and components for all civilian Airbus models as well as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. PFW has the ability to establish designs for AM and to perform qualifications. This is due to its status as a build-to-spec developer, and with its experience in qualifying components and processes.

In particular, materials which are expensive to process such as titanium alloys are predestined for AM. PFW is working closely with BeAM, a Strasbourg, France company, on Directed Energy Deposition (DED) in order to test the applicability of this process to currently machined titanium components and complex welding designs.

DED can give complex characteristics to semi-finished products or intermediate construction. The results are near-net-shape geometries in which completing production is only a simple programme for finishing the surface. This can reduce material expense as well as scrap volume by over 70%, which has a sustainable effect on process cost effectiveness. PFW is striving to create a process combining cost-effective manufacturing of geometrically simple intermediate products and jobs with complex, additive characteristics.

PFW acquired a Modulo 400 machine whose glove box design makes it possible to fulfil aerospace requirements needed for overall atmospheric values for O2 and H2O. System technology and process management are being further developed in close cooperation to meet industrial production requirements.

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