BeAM, Strasbourg, France, is partnering with PFW Aerospace GmbH, Speyer, Germany, to qualify an aerospace component for a large civil passenger aircraft using Ti6Al4V which fulfils typical aerospace quality requirements. In addition, this collaboration will focus on industrialising the Directed Energy Deposition (DED) Additive Manufacturing process to manufacture series components.
PFW has reportedly been keeping track of technological developments and the market for Additive Manufacturing processes for four years prior to partnering with BeAM. The company is an international tier one supplier of systems and components for all civilian Airbus models, as well as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Its status as a build-to-spec developer and experience in qualifying components and processes gives PFW the ability to establish designs for AM and to perform qualifications.
PFW is working closely with BeAM in order to test the applicability of the DED process to currently machined titanium components and complex welding designs. In the DED process, focused thermal energy is used to fuse materials by melting them as they are deposited, making it possible to give complex characteristics to semi-finished products or intermediate construction.
The results are near net shape geometries, which can reduce material expense as well as scrap volume by over 70%, having a sustainable effect on process cost effectiveness. PFW reported that it is striving to create a process combining the cost-effective manufacturing of geometrically simple intermediate products, and jobs with complex, additive characteristics.
As part of the partnership, PFW has acquired a Modulo 400 machine from BeAM. The Modulo 400 incorporates a glove box design which makes it possible to fulfil aerospace requirements for overall atmospheric values for O2 and H2O. System technology and process management are now being further developed in close cooperation between the companies, with an eye to meeting industrial production requirements.