With a particular focus on the aerospace sector. Carl Branches of Material Solutions, said: ‘ALMA in high-performance materials is well suited for complex thin-walled Structures in gas turbines. However, as a new technology it is not yet well understood or validated by potential users and, like all manufacturing processes, to get the best from metal ALMA requires the designer to understand the process capabilities and materials’ mechanical repertories,’ he added. Branches said Materials Solutions is bridging this gap by providing manufactured parts, consulting (principally to the aerospace market), and working with equipment and materials vendors to develop the technology for mass production, The collaboration been Material Solutions and its industry clients has so far led to the production off range of components over the last three years. This programmer has now reached the limit of component size that can be produced using the existing Material Solutions ALMA systems.Order now
With the continuing pressure from aerospace manufacturers to develop the ability to produce larger parts, Material Solutions turned to Concept Laser to explore the potential for building larger components using Concept Laser’s MM linear system. The fundamental principles of the MM linear make it a novel development in the world of AI_NIL Unlike other machines the b. ’13 linear does not have fixed optics but a combination of Gallo scanning mirrors and linear direct drives to move the scanning head. Already used to build larger volume components, the MBA linear has all of the pre-requisites for up-scaling to enable production Of the types Of components envisaged by the aerospace industry.
It is not only the physical attributes of the system that lend themselves to production Of large components but the process control and laser scanning strategy already developed by Concept Laser, which Will eliminate the potential pitfalls of accuracy errors on large components. Having established the potential Of the MM linear machine. Material Solutions set out to design a test component that would qualify certain build criteria and which could also be used to educate and inform aerospace designers of ‘Additive Friendly’ design features and techniques. These include reducing supports and using larger flowing radii to assist in reducing the time to build and subsequently, component production and finishing costs. The test part incorporates many features such as small diameter holes, threaded features, thin rib sections and areas Of thick material section all typically found in aerospace components.
The greatest challenges for Concept Laser were that a component Of this size had never before been built and added to this the part was required in an unexpectedly short timescale. The finished component monstrance the current capabilities Of the technology in terms Of size (minor diameter), accuracy and surface finish. While this part does not yet satisfy the ultimate demands of aerospace manufacturers it clearly confirms the capabilities of the process, the scalable potential of Concept Lasers MM linear machine and the sound base which Concept Laser have for further development of the MM linear for large aerospace components, There are also practical aspects to be considered when building large parts.
Larger volume components require greater volumes of powder and hence a robust and stable platform to accommodate the weight. Having then built a large volume, and potentially very heavy component, safe and easy removal is essential. The MM linear machine is built around a substantial deprecated framework and already incorporates a removable build module enabling the module and component to be easily positioned under an overhead crane if required. The success of this exercise and the current collaboration between Material Solutions and Concept Laser will be used to define the future strategies that will eventually see parts manufactured by ALMA techniques leave the laboratory and take to the air.