Mechanical testing solutions provider Plastometrex, Cambridge, UK, has announced a collaboration with Leonardo, the aerospace, defence and security company headquartered in Rome, Italy. With the purchase of its first Indentation Plastometer from Plastometrex, Leonardo hopes to overcome the challenge of the timely qualification of parts produced by Additive Manufacturing, thus further proving the viability of AM in the aerospace & defence sectors.
Plastometrex’s mechanical testing technology measures the strength of metallic materials via an automated five-minute indentation-based test, reportedly allowing users to accelerate testing turnaround by 80 X whilst reducing testing costs by up to 90%.
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Since its commercial launch in 2021, the Indentation Plastometer has gained increasing notice in the AM sector – including with recognisable OEMs – to support faster testing and qualification of new materials, machines, and parts.
“Materials testing and qualification is the bedrock of any robust manufacturing process and new testing tools are needed to support the adoption of Additive Manufacturing in industry,” stated Mark Jackson, Research & Innovation, and David Wragg, Senior Metallic Materials Engineer, at Leonardo Helicopters UK.
“We are delighted to be working with Plastometrex, a technology-forward company whose unique technology platform will enable us to assess, improve, and deploy additive parts far more efficiently than previously possible.”
The companies have stated that they will be collaborating in several areas, including the characterisation of parts made via sinter-based metal Additive Manufacturing processes such as Material Extrusion (MEX), and mapping property variation of parts as a function of build height and lateral position. Leonardo will also be supporting Plastometrex with the advancement of a dedicated test standard, a project that is already underway in collaboration with the ASTM AM Center of Excellence.
Jimmy Campbell, CTO at Plastometrex, added, “We are excited to work with the team at Leonardo to accelerate the utilisation of new technologies in the aerospace and defence markets. As two innovative companies, we are looking forward to a rewarding collaborative journey together.”
The Indentation Plastometer can be seen at the iAero Centre in Yeovil, Somerset, UK. The facility is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, HM Government, Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP), and Leonardo, and is intended to act as a hub for the creation of new collaborations, solutions, and development of high-value engineering skills in the area.