Metal Additive Manufacturing (AM): Enabling a New Emerging Technology

Metal Additive Manufacturing (AM): Enabling a New Emerging Technology

Additive manufacturing (AM) is starting to revolutionize production technology on a worldwide scale. The AM sector has shifted from prototyping tools to overall manufacturing of varied products and enhancing product quality. Companies are installing more AM machines to raised control of the move from development learning projects to full production of AM parts.

A Sneak Peek into the Market Trends

Being involved in metal AM, we've focused specifically on selective laser melting (SLM), also referred to as direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) or laser powder bed fusion (LPBF). We feel the resolution and part quality from this process is best fitted to Moog’s applications. At Moog, we've been experiencing challenges in three particular aspects of metal AM—design, trust, and cost. From the planning perspective, the important difficulty lies within the lack of industry-accepted AM material standards to style too. As metal AM technology is new and still immature, the trust issue arises with the repeatability of manufacturing an equivalent quality metal with every layer of each build of each part. We aim to supply reliable products to the aerospace, where we are primarily driving metal AM technology. Further, we discover it challenging to lower the value of metal AM processes thanks to the shortage of appropriate cost-effective inspection methods.

One of the positive trends within the metal AM sector is that AM machine manufacturers are introducing machines with more lasers and therefore the ability to melt thicker layers which will help lower the value of AM. the planning and analysis tools are maturing also. it's seen that a number of the prominent players within the AM industry that produce current CAD and analysis tools are now creating technology specific to metal AM. This technology helps AM designers save time because the new CAD tools can create complex AM geometry faster.

We, at Moog, try to require advantage of AM by designing products that will have weight savings and performance gains in aerospace applications. Relative to our competitors, we expect we are better positioned to leverage additive manufacturing to its fullest capacity due to our in-depth experience with the technology. We also check out technology as a chance to supply more value within the final product application for our customers.

"Additive manufacturing is that the new technology that permits designers to be unconstrained in developing free-form and complex features, without the necessity for expensive tooling"

Future of the AM Marketplace

To pinpoint disruptions that may occur within the AM market is somewhat difficult because it depends on how the LPBF technology matures over time. LPBF metal AM technology goes to exchange a number of the traditional designs and methodologies but not all. PDF will have its place in manufacturing for specific applications. One disrupter is that if significant growth in point of use manufacturing could enable a lower-cost supply chain solution. Additive as a producing method may additionally produce to aggregate just in time production, where centralized manufacturing hubs will produce parts in one place for multiple companies.

At Moog, we see the AM technology as an enabler to manufacture our products quickly in smaller and lighter sizes as an efficient influence on the market. We are developing controlled processes for creating good metal for each build, and thereto end, AM can have a viable path forward for serial production. Moreover, AM technology provides us rapid prototyping capability, faster development, and potentially lower production costs. We’ll still increase the manufacturing readiness level (MRL) and technology readiness level (TRL), so AM design is often our first choice for production.

To find the proper partner, we specialize in the manufacturers who have an interest in improving the repeatability and reliability of the merchandise that we produce. Secondly, the partner should be willing to share the value of learning aside from understanding the market with a significant will to figure thereon. Thirdly, the partner must be open about what they know and willing to share it.

Impactful Initiatives

Metal AM has given us new tools to unravel our customers’ most difficult technical challenges. Currently, we are working very specifically on applying AM to our propulsion engines for better performance and faster time to plug. With AM, we are ready to produce engines that are lighter weight and may isolate heat better.

Our team has also been positioning itself within the control applications space to not only provide weight savings but also reduce lead-time. Weight savings end in lower fuel usage, which suggests lesser costs for the top customer. to make sure higher reliability of our product, we test the AM components with many cycles.

The Integrated Smart Actuator (ISA) was developed in partnership with the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) for his or her HyQReal robot. This robot needed a hydraulic actuator that was compact and light-weight. As we had additive as an answer, we will condense the dimensions of the actuator and ultimately provide the performance they needed during a lightweight robotic system.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

To achieve success within the AM space, organizations must still push the technology while adapting to new trends as they develop. Rather than being conservative, young AM leaders should specialize in the aspects where they will influence and transform for a far better outcome. AM has limitations relative to the maturity level of the technology, but which will never prevent anyone from being ready with all the training/processes/systems to support this new emerging technology.

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