Additive Manufacturing in the Aerospace Industry

Arpita Halder | June 02, 2022 | 159 views
ADDITIVE_MANUFACTURING_IN
Over the last few years, additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) has garnered much attention and appreciation, both from consumers and the manufacturing fraternity. 3D printing, which started as a prototyping technology, has come a long way since its inception. To put it in simple words, additive manufacturing (AM) is a game-changer for manufacturers of all sizes.

Traditional ways of generating products such as machining, cutting, turning, shaping, milling, and other "subtractive" manufacturing processes can be supplemented, and in some circumstances, completely replaced, by additive manufacturing. When we look at the bigger picture, AM is transforming people’s lives, which includes but is not restricted to just medical advances, safer transportation, highways, or any other infrastructural developments.

Manufacturers can now swiftly make mock-ups of a new product or a part to fulfill a specific market niche, which can lead to the production of high-profit margin products. When additive manufacturing is used from start to finish, the overall manufacturing process becomes even more streamlined.

Given the advantages of AM, it's only natural that the technology would be used in the aerospace industry. According to MarketanndMarkets, aerospace 3D printing is expected to exceed $3 billion by 2022 due to the rising demand for lightweight 3D printed parts for aircraft engines.

Here are some areas where AM is implemented in the aerospace industry.


Constructing Rocket Bodies:

Relativity Space is a California-based aerospace manufacturing firm that focuses on creating manufacturing technologies, launch vehicles, and rocket engines for commercial orbital launch services. Their Stargate manufacturing facility is known to house the world's largest 3D printers. These printers use direct energy deposition and patented alloys to make the outer bodies of their rockets.

When compared to traditional launch vehicles, 3D printing allows them to quickly create integrated components with a 100-fold lower part count. This also reduces weight and increases reliability, both of which are critical to the economics of space launch. It further allows designers to explore numerous designs in a short time span and helps enhance the overall quality and arrive at a better design.


Designing Rocket Engines:

Rocket Lab is a public American aerospace company that specializes in small satellite launches. Their Rutherford rocket engine was first tested in late 2016, and over 200 of these game-changing variants have been manufactured since then.

The combustion chambers, injectors, pumps, and main propellant valves of this engine were all 3D printed utilizing electron-beam melting. The resulting engine is simple, dependable, and light, weighing only 35 kg (77 lb), making it perfect for low-cost space launches. Their new Curie and HyperCurie thrusters, which operate outside Earth's atmosphere, are based on the same principles.


Designing Astronaut Outfits:

Additive manufacturing isn't just for making actual rockets; it may also be used to create improved, refined astronaut outfits. The costumes of SpaceX's crew were partially produced with additive manufacturing when they sent humans into space.

Even though the company has kept much of the underlying technology under wraps, a source shared that the helmet was made by using 3D printing technology and it had integrated valves, visor retraction and locking mechanisms, and microphones built into the structure.


Wrapping Up:

The current pace of manufacturing and engineering really necessitates the need for everyone to invest in additive manufacturing.” 

Cory Larson WMEP Manufacturing Solutions Consultant – Automation & Cybersecurity, Registered Practitioner, CMMC-AB

AM is also gaining traction in the commercial manufacturing and fabrication markets. Metal fabrication companies all around the world have begun to provide additive manufacturing solutions in addition to subtractive methods like CNC machining. 3D printing is swiftly becoming one of the cornerstones of the industry 4.0 movement due to its capacity to generate high-tolerance parts and rapid prototypes at a substantially reduced cost.

Spotlight

Lisi Aerospace Additive Manufacturing

LISI AEROSPACE Additive Manufacturing is dedicated to the additive manufacturing of parts for the aeronautics, space and defense sectors. Specialized in the manufacture of large parts and series, we support our customers from topological optimization to the delivery of finished parts through a targeted vertical integration.

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Article | October 20, 2021

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Five Lean Manufacturing Principles to Empower Your Manufacturing Business

Article | December 16, 2021

Lean manufacturing is an operational approach used to create value. Businesses adopt lean manufacturing to improve productivity, reduce waste, increase customer value, and employee satisfaction. Many businesses are accelerating their adoption of lean principles and practices due to the emergence of the industry 4.0 transformation. As a result, companies such as Caterpillar, Intel, Textron, Parker Hannifin, and John Deere are all reaping the benefits of lean manufacturing. So, where did the idea of "lean manufacturing" first originate? In this article, you'll learn about the origins of lean manufacturing and its key principles. The Origins of Lean Manufacturing The principles of lean manufacturing were developed in Japan in the mid-20th century. Toyota, a famous Japanese automaker, experienced major delivery issues at the time. Its production chains were excessively long; thus it couldn't supply enough products on time. As a result, Toyota needed a new Performance measurement system. 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Waste reduction of 80% plus Reduced production expenses by 50% Decreased inventories by 80-90% Producing quality items is 90% less expensive. Workforce productivity improved by 50% If you want your business to get the above benefits, you need to adopt lean manufacturing principles. Five lean Manufacturing Principles Lean manufacturing benefits businesses in multiple ways, and this lean lifestyle has the potential to empower any organization and increase its market competitiveness. So, let us observe the five fundamental principles of lean manufacturing. Value For the first principle of defining customer value, it is vital to understand what value is. For customers, value comes from what they're willing to pay for. The customer's actual or hidden demands must be discovered. Customers are not aware of what they want or cannot express it. When it comes to new items or technologies, this is a regular occurrence. 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Lisi Aerospace Additive Manufacturing

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France Elévateur | June 28, 2022

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Akoustis Signs New DARPA Contract to Advance XBAW Technology

Akoustis Technologies | June 27, 2022

Akoustis Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKTS) (“Akoustis” or the “Company”), an integrated device manufacturer (IDM) of patented bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications, announced today that it has entered into a new multi-year, multi-million dollar contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to pursue new materials and device manufacturing methods. As a result of the expected advances, the program could extend the Company’s patented and proprietary XBAW® technology to 18 GHz, opening up significant new commercial and defense applications to Akoustis. Traditional scaling of BAW resonators to X and Ku bands typically results in unacceptably low Q (quality) factors, degraded electromechanical coupling and much lower power capability driven by leaked energy from much smaller resonators. One approach to BAW frequency scaling is simple overtone mode operation which severely degrades electromechanical coupling. In this DARPA program, XBAW® technology utilizes a novel approach to circumvent trade-offs inherent in traditional BAW frequency scaling approaches. Akoustis plans to introduce, at the completion of the program, XBAW® filters and resonators that fully exploit the entire kt2 of the underlying piezoelectric material. “A different frequency scaling approach is required for BAW resonators to operate at higher frequencies above 10GHz, such as X and Ku bands.In this DARPA-funded effort, we intend to introduce a new method of BAW overtone operation that can maintain high Q factor while mitigating the decrease in coupling. Combining our existing, patented XBAW® technology along with the successful mode overtone operation which we plan to develop under this program, we expect to advance the state-of the-art in BAW RF filter technology at lower frequencies for 5G and Wi-Fi—specifically in terms of power handling, Q factor and frequency operation relative to incumbent BAW technologies in the market today.” -Jeff Shealy, founder and CEO of Akoustis Akoustis is actively delivering volume production of its Wi-Fi 6 tandem filter solutions, shipping multiple 5G small cell XBAW® filter solutions, delivering initial designs of its new 5G mobile filter solutions to multiple customers and has entered the market with its new Wi-Fi 6E coexistence XBAW® filter solutions. Given the rapidly growing sales funnel activity as well as ongoing interaction with customers regarding expected ramps in 5G mobile, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E in calendar 2022, the Company is increasing the annual production capacity at its New York fab to approximately 500 million filters per year. About Akoustis Technologies, Inc- Akoustis® is a high-tech BAW RF filter solutions company that is pioneering next-generation materials science and MEMS wafer manufacturing to address the market requirements for improved RF filters - targeting higher bandwidth, higher operating frequencies and higher output power compared to incumbent polycrystalline BAW technology deployed today. The Company utilizes its proprietary and patented XBAW® manufacturing process to produce bulk acoustic wave RF filters for mobile and other wireless markets, which facilitate signal acquisition and accelerate band performance between the antenna and digital back end. Superior performance is driven by the significant advances of poly-crystal, high-purity and single-crystal piezoelectric materials and the resonator-filter process technology which enables optimal trade-offs between critical power, frequency and bandwidth performance specifications. Akoustis plans to service the fast growing multi-billion-dollar RF filter market using its integrated device manufacturer (IDM) business model. The Company owns and operates a 120,000 sq. ft. ISO-9001:2015 registered commercial wafer-manufacturing facility located in Canandaigua, NY, which includes a class 100 / class 1000 cleanroom facility - tooled for 150-mm diameter wafers - for the design, development, fabrication and packaging of RF filters, MEMS and other semiconductor devices. Akoustis Technologies, Inc. is headquartered in the Piedmont technology corridor near Charlotte, North Carolina.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

HWAFUNE Breaks Through Textile Difficulties with Porlite by Creating New Trends in Functional Fabrics

HWAFUNE | June 28, 2022

When mentioning Taiwan's traditional manufacturing, what pops into your head may be the textile industry. As a global hub for textile manufacturing, Taiwan has undergone significant changes over the past 30 years. Two of the most important changes are the relocation of industries to China and the government's New Southbound Policy. While Taiwanese textile manufacturers' decision to relocate is mainly driven by the need to reduce costs using cheap overseas labor, the rising labor costs in Southeast Asia have forced the manufacturers to constantly move their production to other regions, turning them into textile industry nomads. Despite these two relocation trends, HWAFUNE Textile which specializes in manufacturing functional fabrics has insisted on keeping production in Taiwan to provide reliable, high-quality products for esteemed customers. Instead of blindly pursing low costs and low prices through contract manufacturing and ending up in the red ocean, HWAFUNE Textile has strengthened the foothold of the Taiwanese textile industry in the global luxury market. One of the hot topics in the functional apparel market in recent years is the European Union's ban on fabrics containing PTFE. Currently, membranes made of PU, TPU, and PTFE account for the majority of functional apparels. With superior moisture permeability and breathability, PTFE has been adopted more widely than the other two materials. However, when heated to high temperatures during the manufacturing process, PTFE will generate PFOA which is classified as a possible human carcinogen. In addition, greenhouse gas is produced when fabrics containing this material are incinerated. Even if the fabrics are buried in landfills, PFOA will not decompose and will be washed into the ocean by rain. It then gets into the atmosphere via evaporation and is transported to everywhere by airflow or rain. PFOA has even been found in polar bears' livers. Considering the potential impact of the EU's ban on the clothing market and consumers' fear of toxic substances, upmarket brands have been looking for alternative functional fabrics. Therefore, HWAFUNE has joined hands with Phoenix Innovative Materials to develop the functional fabric brand Porlite, which has rapidly won the heart of high-end functional apparel brands. "In Light of Future Trends, HWAFUNE Develops Porlite Fabrics with Phoenix Innovative Materialsto take interest in PP membranes five years ago. Although HWAFUNE has the ability to mass produce fabrics featuring PTFE, PU, and TPU membranes, he believes PP membranes will become a trend in the functional apparel industry since the lifecycle of the material, from the production of the membrane and the manufacturing of the fabrics to the disposal of the clothing, is more in line with increased environmental awareness, I can guarantee that Porlite is capable of replacing existing functional fabrics and can fully address high-end brands' product development requirements" -Jackson Chang,ChairmanHWAFUNE. Turning the ambitious vision into reality is not easy. In the past three years, these two companies worked closely on the manufacturing, testing, and modification of the membrane. Besides functionality, HWAFUNE also considered the needs of consumers during testing, such as waterproof, moisture permeability, and even the appearances of the fabrics after washing. The reason that Chairman Chang is so committed is because he has put himself in consumers' shoes in the first place. He thinks environmental protection, safety, non-toxicity, and practicability should be combined perfectly. Product developers should not need to choose between them, nor should they force consumers to compromise on environmental protection, price, or quality. Dr. Chang, who is responsible for technology development at Phoenix Innovative Materials, explains the three major advantages of Porlite which is produced through non-toxic manufacturing processes in Taiwan. Firstly, there are 10 billion pores arranged in an orderly manner on the membrane. As the pores are smaller than water molecules and bigger than air molecules, the fabric can resist water penetration, even under pressure, while maintaining breathability. Moreover, since most outdoor exercises are relatively intense and will create a lot of sweat during the process, Porlite can also transport moisture from the clothing to the atmosphere by diffusion through the membrane, thus providing moisture permeability and breathability that no other functional apparel on market can achieve. Porlite Captures Top Brands' Heart with Non-Toxic Manufacturing, Sustainability, Fastness to Washing, and Moisture Permeability In line with the HWAFUNE's commitment to sustainability, the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) for Porlite can endure at least 30 laundering cycles and rain-resistant for period of time, thus providing a longer life span. Manufacturing in Taiwan is one of the main reasons that Porlite has won favor with Europe-based tier-one sportswear brands. The high quality enables Porlite to stand out from other competitors and meet customers' needs for upscale and reliable products. Both the PP membrane developed by Phoenix Innovative Materials and the Porlite fabric created by HWAFUNE are manufactured in Taiwan. Thanks to their insistence on domestic production, the companies have established a high-tech brand image for Taiwanese textile companies widely recognized by overseas esteemed customers. These are valuable experiences for both Phoenix Innovative Materials and HWAFUNE. Instead of pursuing short-term profits through contract manufacturing services, Chairman Chang and Dr. Chang spent five years developing the Porlite fabric whose overwhelming advantages for environmental protection and functionality have spoken for itself. The goal is to establish bio-based manufacturing processes by using natural materials such as weeds as raw materials and to provide biodegradable products in 10 years.

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Time Manufacturing Company Acquires France Elévateur

France Elévateur | June 28, 2022

H.I.G. Capital ("H.I.G."), a leading global alternative investment firm with over $49 billion of equity capital under management, is pleased to announce that its portfolio company, Time Manufacturing Holdings, LLC (“Time Manufacturing” or the “Company”), a leading, global provider of vehicle-mounted aerial lifts, has acquired France Elévateur (“FE Group”). The pairing of the two companies, who share a mutual dedication to quality and safety, strengthens the combined platform’s global manufacturing capabilities while enhancing value to customers through a broader portfolio of complementary products and services. Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Flavigny, France, France Elévateur is a leading manufacturer of vehicle-mounted aerial platforms for customers in various trades including public lighting, electric utility, roofing, telecommunications, rail networks, and other fields requiring access solutions. Through its two manufacturing sites in France and Spain and its footprint of 15 service facilities, France Elévateur provides quality machinery and comprehensive after-market services across Europe. “The France Elévateur acquisition represents a meaningful step forward in our global growth plan by adding more than 450 experienced professionals, a world-class regional product line, and over a dozen facilities across France, Belgium, and Spain. Leveraging our existing reach in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Switzerland, The FE Group improves our reach in the important national markets of Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Eastern France and Spain.” -Curt Howell, Chief Executive Officer of Time Manufacturing Company. “Together, Time Manufacturing and France Elévateur can leverage their combined portfolio of vehicle-mounted access products to bring additional solutions to all customers.” -Charles Goffin, Chief Executive Officer of France Elévateur. France Elévateur is a highly complementary addition that brings further diversification to Time Manufacturing’s suite of aerial lifts, and strengthens the Company’s global leadership position, said Tenno Tsai, Head of North American Industrials at H.I.G. Klaas Reineke, Managing Director at H.I.G., added, We are thrilled to continue supporting management and the Company in their efforts to enhance our European operations, particularly in the utility and telecommunications end markets. About Time Manufacturing Company- Time Manufacturing Company is a global manufacturer of bucket trucks, digger derricks, cable placers, truck bodies, buckets, and other specialty equipment for electric utility, telecommunications infrastructure, bridge inspection, tree care, and other fleet-supported industries. Selling via the Versalift, BrandFX, Aspen Aerials, Ruthmann, Steiger, Ecoline and Bluelift brands, the Company employs more than 2,000 associates worldwide. For more information, visit https://timemfg.com. About France Elévateur- France Elévateur is a leading manufacturer of vehicle-mounted aerial platforms for customers in various trades including public lighting, electric utility lines, roofing, telecommunications networks, rail networks, equipment rental, and other fields requiring access solutions. Through its two manufacturing sites in France and Spain and its footprint of 15 service facilities, France Elévateur provides quality machinery and after-sales services across Europe. For more information, visit https://france-elevateur.fr. About H.I.G. Capital- H.I.G. is a leading global alternative assets investment firm with over $49 billion of equity capital under management.* Based in Miami, and with offices in New York, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Atlanta in the U.S., as well as international affiliate offices in London, Hamburg, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Bogotá, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, H.I.G. specializes in providing both debt and equity capital to small and mid-sized companies, utilizing a flexible and operationally focused/ value-added approach: H.I.G.’s equity funds invest in management buyouts, recapitalizations and corporate carve-outs of both profitable as well as underperforming manufacturing and service businesses. H.I.G.’s debt funds invest in senior, unitranche and junior debt financing to companies across the size spectrum, both on a primary (direct origination) basis, as well as in the secondary markets. H.I.G. is also a leading CLO manager, through its WhiteHorse family of vehicles, and manages a publicly traded BDC, WhiteHorse Finance. H.I.G.’s real estate funds invest in value-added properties, which can benefit from improved asset management practices. H.I.G. Infrastructure focuses on making value-add and core plus investments in the infrastructure sector. Since its founding in 1993, H.I.G. has invested in and managed more than 300 companies worldwide. The firm's current portfolio includes more than 100 companies with combined sales in excess of $30 billion.

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Akoustis Signs New DARPA Contract to Advance XBAW Technology

Akoustis Technologies | June 27, 2022

Akoustis Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKTS) (“Akoustis” or the “Company”), an integrated device manufacturer (IDM) of patented bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications, announced today that it has entered into a new multi-year, multi-million dollar contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to pursue new materials and device manufacturing methods. As a result of the expected advances, the program could extend the Company’s patented and proprietary XBAW® technology to 18 GHz, opening up significant new commercial and defense applications to Akoustis. Traditional scaling of BAW resonators to X and Ku bands typically results in unacceptably low Q (quality) factors, degraded electromechanical coupling and much lower power capability driven by leaked energy from much smaller resonators. One approach to BAW frequency scaling is simple overtone mode operation which severely degrades electromechanical coupling. In this DARPA program, XBAW® technology utilizes a novel approach to circumvent trade-offs inherent in traditional BAW frequency scaling approaches. Akoustis plans to introduce, at the completion of the program, XBAW® filters and resonators that fully exploit the entire kt2 of the underlying piezoelectric material. “A different frequency scaling approach is required for BAW resonators to operate at higher frequencies above 10GHz, such as X and Ku bands.In this DARPA-funded effort, we intend to introduce a new method of BAW overtone operation that can maintain high Q factor while mitigating the decrease in coupling. Combining our existing, patented XBAW® technology along with the successful mode overtone operation which we plan to develop under this program, we expect to advance the state-of the-art in BAW RF filter technology at lower frequencies for 5G and Wi-Fi—specifically in terms of power handling, Q factor and frequency operation relative to incumbent BAW technologies in the market today.” -Jeff Shealy, founder and CEO of Akoustis Akoustis is actively delivering volume production of its Wi-Fi 6 tandem filter solutions, shipping multiple 5G small cell XBAW® filter solutions, delivering initial designs of its new 5G mobile filter solutions to multiple customers and has entered the market with its new Wi-Fi 6E coexistence XBAW® filter solutions. Given the rapidly growing sales funnel activity as well as ongoing interaction with customers regarding expected ramps in 5G mobile, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E in calendar 2022, the Company is increasing the annual production capacity at its New York fab to approximately 500 million filters per year. About Akoustis Technologies, Inc- Akoustis® is a high-tech BAW RF filter solutions company that is pioneering next-generation materials science and MEMS wafer manufacturing to address the market requirements for improved RF filters - targeting higher bandwidth, higher operating frequencies and higher output power compared to incumbent polycrystalline BAW technology deployed today. The Company utilizes its proprietary and patented XBAW® manufacturing process to produce bulk acoustic wave RF filters for mobile and other wireless markets, which facilitate signal acquisition and accelerate band performance between the antenna and digital back end. Superior performance is driven by the significant advances of poly-crystal, high-purity and single-crystal piezoelectric materials and the resonator-filter process technology which enables optimal trade-offs between critical power, frequency and bandwidth performance specifications. Akoustis plans to service the fast growing multi-billion-dollar RF filter market using its integrated device manufacturer (IDM) business model. The Company owns and operates a 120,000 sq. ft. ISO-9001:2015 registered commercial wafer-manufacturing facility located in Canandaigua, NY, which includes a class 100 / class 1000 cleanroom facility - tooled for 150-mm diameter wafers - for the design, development, fabrication and packaging of RF filters, MEMS and other semiconductor devices. Akoustis Technologies, Inc. is headquartered in the Piedmont technology corridor near Charlotte, North Carolina.

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