Two subjects, GE Aviation Czech s.r.o and Brno University of Technology / Faculty of Mechanical Engineering (Vysoké učení technické v Brně / Fakulta strojního inženýrství form the consortium of the ADAAC project under supervision of European Space Agency. Project main technical objective is to measurably improve performance and decrease manufacturing costs of aerospace hardware through development of new additive design and manufacturing capabilities in the Czech Republic.
Space and aerospace applications pose extremely high physical demands on equipment (typically engines, frame structure, electronics) while these demands meet with space limitations and weight restrictions. Important is also the pressure on economical effectiveness of equipment production.
Additive manufacturing ( “AM”) is a young “game-changing” technology with a large potential in many fields including aerospace engineering. Additive manufacturing can be used for production of parts made of various materials. Typically the materials are based on metals, plastics or ceramics, while for aerospace engineering mainly the metal based materials are important. It has already been proven on various test cases, that additive manufacturing can enhance physical properties and lower manufacturing costs of aerospace and space equipment. However, there are still many uncertainties and unknowns connected mainly with this lack of proven methodologies and best practices in using this new promising technology. In addition, the Czech Republic has not progressed as far as several other EU countries in developing research and industrial capabilities around this new technology.
The objectives of the project were formulated as follows:
OBJ1 – Identify aerospace components suitable for AM
- The objective is to develop and implement special methodologies to identify suitable components that can benefit from additive manufacturing compared to conventional manufacturing in order to reduce complexity, cost and weight. The other part of the objective is to assess system level impact of additive parts introduction.
OBJ2 – Develop aerospace additive components design procedures
- The objective is to develop and implement special methodologies for mechanical design of additive components. The methodology will also focus on the bionic design principles, which will cause significant weight and material waste reduction.
OBJ3 – Verify and validate developed additive design procedures
- The objective will be fulfilled by following scope:
- Prototyping of the selected aerospace components
- Verification of the material layer composition and material performance validation
- Prototypes inspection using advanced NDT techniques
- Validation of selected components in dedicated laboratory test rigs
OBJ4 – Create the AM competency in the Czech Republic
- Create core competencies in design and application of additive manufacturing for aerospace components in both GEAC and VUT
- Improve capability of advanced additive manufacturing using metal powders suitable for aerospace application in both GEAC and VUT
Project was officially launched during March 2018 with some preliminary work done even before. Currently methodology for parts selection with high potential for functionality, cost and lead time improvement by additive manufacturing. Also preliminary actions regarding particular parts selection started. Team of GEAC and VUT work in 2018 on additive laboratory establishment including 3D additive machine installation.