Dual-laser 3D printer produces complex aerospace parts
Rayvatek uses additive manufacturing to produce a range of complex aerospace components
Taiwanese metal additive manufacturing (AM) technology and service firm Rayvatek has collaborated with SLM Solution to produce what it says are a range of “breakthrough” solutions for the aerospace industry.
Rayvatek has been working with an SLM280 3D dual-laser printer to overcome the technical constraints of traditional manufacturing to deliver high-performance parts, such as those pictured above, with lower cost and greater efficiency.
Aerospace was one of the earliest industries to adopt AM and continues to be one of the fastest-growing fields for its application globally. The technology can be used to develop strong, lightweight parts with optimised, material-saving topographies that meet the strict requirements of aircraft engine manufacturers for metallurgical and mechanical quality and performance.
Rayvatek has used its 3D printer to develop complex components such as transmission systems, oxidiser injectors, fluid mechanical parts, and special flow channel fittings. Not only does this eliminate expensive tooling costs, but it also saves more than half of the time required for traditional mould-based manufacturing. Additionally, the firm uses 3D scanning to digitally recreate damaged parts via computer graphics, which are then used – in combination with 3D printing – to repair the parts. This reduces losses incurred due to downtime caused by part damage.
SLM Solutions' selective laser melting technology can also be used to manufacture integral thrust chambers that combine multiple parts into a single part. 3D-printed lattice structures and internal cooling channels help to improve part quality, reduce weight, and save fuel. SLM’s technology is especially useful for small batch production of complex parts, enabling cost reductions and tool-free production, significantly shortening the development cycle.
Rayvatek continually emphasises the value of AM technology to its customers in developing high-performance products and overcoming common pain points in aerospace materials manufacturing. For example, the oxidiser injectors it produces have highly complex internal passages that cannot be produced by casting and machining. These injectors are intricately designed to fit the engine and oxidiser tank, which would require the integration of multiple components if made using traditional manufacturing methods. Rayvatek uses its SLM280 printer to manufacture injectors of different sizes through a single manufacturing process, accelerating testing and development and ultimately enabling more efficient injection of oxidiser into the combustion chamber, thereby increasing thrust power for the launch vehicle.
Using 3D printing also means that flow distributors can be printed in one piece, rather than assembled from several pieces, which helps to achieve the goal of smooth and even distribution. The SLM280 can also fabricate hollow parts for impellers, reducing the weight and the moment of inertia of the product, thereby improving efficiency and reducing energy consumption.
"Combining SLM's high-precision printing capabilities with Rayvatek's experience and expertise in the space industry allows us to develop and produce high-quality space components and expand our offerings to a wider range of sectors, including aerospace, maritime transport, electric vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, heavy machinery and moulds, and energy,” said Rayvatek’s chief business officer.