Safran Electrical & Power, which designs and produces electrical systems for aircraft as part of Safran Group, has developed a successful proof of concept for a metal additively manufactured electrical generator housing with the support of Betatype Ltd.
By exploiting the technical advantages of metal AM, Betatype was reportedly able to improve the design of the housing by focusing on a number of key areas: improved strength, increased stiffness and a reduction in overall weight. To achieve this goal, the company developed a proof of concept using an ultra-high density lattice as part of a sandwich structure said to incorporate over 10 million elements.
Dr Mark Craig, Materials, Special Processes & Composites Company Expert at Safran Electrical & Power, stated, “We came across Betatype in a search for 3D printing specialists and it was clear after our initial discussions that they had the knowledge and skill-set we were looking for to add value in our new part production programme.”
Sarat Babu, Betatype CEO, added, “We knew creating a more complex, higher-density lattice structure was the key to achieving what Safran was looking for in the part. Applying our technology and multi-scale approach, we were able to control the scan path and exposure settings down to each element of the sandwich structure’s design. By pushing the AM process of Laser Powder Bed Fusion well beyond its standard processes, we created the ultra-high density lattice structure required.”
The initial work was said to have been very encouraging, with Safran keen to pursue the use of metal AM further for housings and other components. The new design resulted in a consolidation of the part from several complex machined components into one piece. Betatype was also able to reduce the manufacturing time for the part.