SLM Solutions, Lübeck, Germany, and Safran Landing Systems, an aircraft landing and braking systems company headquartered in Vélizy-Villacoublay, France, have collaborated to test SLM Solutions’ Selective Laser Melting Additive Manufacturing technology, otherwise known as Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB), to produce a titanium nose landing gear part for a business jet.
Said to be a world-first for a part of this size, the objective of the joint project was to demonstrate the feasibility to produce a main fitting by using the group’s SLM®800 metal AM machine. The component was redesigned for metal AM, which enabled time saving in the whole process, and significant weight reduction of approximately 15%.
Due to the stringent requirements of this component, which is one of the parts that transfers the loads from the wheel to the aircraft structure and is retracted after take off, Safran selected titanium alloy. The titanium alloy helps increasing part durability, offers high mechanical properties and does not require any surface treatment, having a natural resistance to corrosion.
Thierry Berenger, Additive Manufacturing project leader at Safran Landing Systems, stated, “We chose SLM Solutions as a partner, because of their expertise and the SLM 800 machine, which exactly meets our requirements in terms of machine size and reliability.”
With a vertically extended build envelope, the SLM 800 AM machine is suitable for producing large components. The machine is equipped with SLM Solutions’ quad-laser technology and innovative features, like the patented gas flow and a permanent filter, that ensure reliability. The group explains that one of the strengths of its SLM technology is its flexibility. Design changes can be quickly modified, built and tested, then less time is spent during the prototype development.
Gerhard Bierleutgeb, EVP Global Services & Solutions at SLM Solutions, commented, “Additive Manufacturing contributes to saving time in the qualification and certification phases by rapidly providing the parts for testing. We were able to produce the main fitting in few days on the SLM 800, vs few months with the forging process.”