Airbus and Oerlikon sign €3.8 million contract for the Additive Manufacturing of satellite components

June 15, 2023

June 15, 2023

Additively manufactured aluminum antenna clusters for Airbus’ next-generation communication satellites are being produced at Oerlikon AM (Courtesy Oerlikon)
Additively manufactured aluminum antenna clusters for Airbus’ next-generation communication satellites are being produced at Oerlikon AM (Courtesy Oerlikon)

Oerlikon AM, Pfäffikon, Switzerland, and Airbus, headquartered in Occitanie, France, have signed a €3.8 million contract for the Additive Manufacturing of complex antenna clusters used in a series of communication satellites. This announcement is said to mark an important milestone in the ten-year collaboration between the companies, which has seen the development of a number of components for space applications, several of which are already in orbit.

The aluminium antenna clusters measure approximately 400 x 400 x 400 mm and are manufactured using Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) Additive Manufacturing. They are reportedly part of next-generation communication satellites that will transmit and receive communication and/or data signals in K-band frequency.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter
Sign up

“To create a final product of excellent quality, technical cooperation and understanding each other’s needs and requirements is fundamental for a well-coordinated design and manufacturing process – not only in rapid prototyping, but even more so in serial production,” stated Michael Kilian, R&D Manager for Additive Manufacturing of RF Space Components, Airbus.

Additive Manufacturing has enabled benefits such as weight reduction and shortened lead times; an antenna cluster could reportedly be reduced from six months to just a few weeks compared to conventional manufacturing.

“The key success factor is the specific AM machine setup, which allows the family of geometries to be reproduced with the required accuracy and the process to be indefinitely repeated. Thus, we met the high accuracy and quality requirements of Airbus, and consequently the specified European Space Agency (ESA) standards for satellites,” added Hendrik Alfter, Managing Director, Oerlikon AM. “We are pleased that the cooperation has resulted in a €3.8 million multi-year contract for the supply of antenna clusters.”

In addition to aluminium Additive Manufacturing, the two parties have jointly fine-tuned the post processing as a key part of the process development. As an all-round service provider, Oerlikon AM reportedly offers Airbus Additive Manufacturing, post processing and surface finish optimisation for radio frequency performance, precision computer numerical control milling, quality assurance, ultrasonic cleaning, assembly, and wire integration, as well as customised logistics.

Download Metal AM magazine
June 15, 2023

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Metal powders in Additive Manufacturing: An exploration of sustainable production, usage and recycling
  • Inside Wayland Additive: How innovation in electron beam PBF is opening new markets for AM
  • An end-to-end production case study: Leveraging data-driven machine learning and autonomous process control in AM
  • Consolidation, competition, and the cost of certification: Insight from New York’s AM Strategies 2024
  • Scandium’s impact on the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium alloys
  • AM for medical implants: An analysis of the impact of powder reuse in Powder Bed Fusion

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

Discover our magazine archive…

The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

Browse the archive

Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

  • AM machines
  • Process monitoring & calibration
  • Heat treatment & sintering
  • HIP systems & services
  • Pre- & post-processing technology
  • Powders, powder production and analysis
  • Part manufacturers
  • Consulting, training & market data
View online
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap