Premium Aerotec, Augsburg, Germany, and GE Additive, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, have announced that they have reached new milestone in the serial production of additively manufactured titanium components for the aerospace industry, thanks to the successful certification of multi-laser AM machines.
With Additive Manufacturing becoming increasingly important to the serial production of components that are approved for the aviation industry, Premium Aerotec and GE Additive have collaborated to advance the introduction of additively manufactured titanium components into serial production.
Premium Aerotec explains that since 2019, when the process qualification for titanium components on a GE Additive Concept Laser M2 multi-laser AM machine was successfully validated, the focus of the collaboration has been on increasing the productivity of AM. Multi-laser systems such as the Concept Laser M2 are said to promise a significant increase in the build rate.
However, until recently, qualification had been limited to the parallel assembly of several components in the build chamber of the system with one laser being assigned to each part. For those components that occupy much of the available space in the machine, due to their dimension, productivity could not be increased by using several lasers in parallel.
The companies state that this limitation has now been removed following the successful validation, by its customer Airbus, for the process using multiple lasers to build one component. The process-critical area is where the exposure zones of the lasers overlap, also known as the stitching zone. Highest precision in the calibration of the optical systems and sophisticated compensation of, for example, the influence of the process heat, is necessary to achieve the desired material properties.
Premium Aerotec will use the newly validated system to produce components for the Airbus A320 family. The Concept Laser M2 is a dual laser AM machine with a build volume of 250 x 250 x 350 mm and a 3D optic with variable spot diameter. The current generation of the system was developed to meet the exacting demands of highly regulated industries such as aerospace and medicine, in terms of accuracy, uniformity, repeatability and safety.
The companies are said to be planning the next steps to significantly increase achievable build rates and in turn, make Additive Manufacturing economically attractive for an expanded range of parts.
“With this advanced technology, we are now able to achieve a homogeneous, quasi-isotropic structure with excellent material properties in the overlap area, which does not show any discernible differences from the previous quality standard,” stated Thomas Bielefeld, Premium Aerotec Project Manager. “At the same time, with our partner GE Additive, we have succeeded in increasing productivity in component production by more than 30%.”
Udo Burggraf, Senior Key Account Director, GE Additive commented, “We are thrilled and satisfied to have reached this milestone in cooperation with PAG. We owe this success primarily to the teams at PAG and GE Additive, who for many years have worked well and closely together on this project. This was not the first success and it will certainly not be the last.”