Rolls-Royce is reported to have selected the SLM®500 metal Additive Manufacturing system, produced by SLM Solutions AG, Lübeck, Germany, to advance its adoption of the technology for aerospace components. With four lasers enabling build rates of up to 171 cm3/h, the SLM 500 is the company’s flagship system for high-volume metal AM, also offering automated, closed-loop material supply, recovery and sieving to minimise operator handling of metal powder.
Speed and safety are required in the majority of industries, but manufacturing parts for aerospace involves a particularly rigorous certification process. Meddah Hadjar, CEO of SLM Solutions Group AG, stated, “Rolls-Royce is very advanced in additive layer manufacturing, with a state-of-the-art approach and expert team working on extremely complex metal Additive Manufacturing solutions. SLM Solutions recognised the need at Rolls-Royce for a supplier to support with equipment qualification.”
“We work closely to develop products that meet their needs to assure aerospace certified part quality levels,” he explained. “This way the Rolls-Royce team can document their expertise and control of the systems adhering to strict regulations and keep their ambitious and innovative additive production plans on track.”
Neil Mantle, Head of Additive Layer Manufacturing at Rolls-Royce, commented, ”We are delighted to be working with SLM Solutions and using their quad-laser machines. Rolls-Royce continues to develop our additive layer manufacturing capability to ensure we are at the forefront of advanced manufacturing. We knew that transferring our expertise and knowledge gained from single laser machines to multi-laser platforms would require a close working relationship and SLM Solutions have provided this.”
It was stated that Rolls Royce required multi-laser systems to meet productivity demands, as well as maintaining rigorous quality controls previously established. Also key to the selection was the control of inert gas flow within the multi-laser machine. This was said to have been rigorously investigated by the Rolls- Royce team because of its direct correlation to build quality.