TWI is taking the lead in the Open Architecture Additive Manufacturing (OAAM) project to demonstrate the ability to manufacture large metallic components via Additive Manufacturing (AM) for the benefit of UK Aerospace. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Additive Manufacturing and Lightweight Materials for Aerospace and Defense.
The OAAM programme plans to develop directed energy deposition (DED) AM technologies that can be scaled up to accept multi-metre component sizes. TWI will work with project partners Airbus, Autodesk, Cranfield University, Glenalmond Group, University of Bath, University of Manchester and University of Strathclyde to create three DED AM process platforms. These new platforms will enable aerospace manufacturers and their supply chains to develop advanced AM manufacturing concepts in the following fields:
1. Arc-wire / Laser-wire AM @ Cranfield University.
2. Electron Beam wire AM @ TWI (Cambridge).
3. Laser-powder / Laser-wire AM @ TWI (Yorkshire Technology Centre).
Each of these systems will offer unique AM capabilities and address a number of common needs:
- Scalable architecture solutions, with common CAD/CAM control interfacing.
- Integrated process steps (NDT, Machining, Inspection, Cold-work etc.) as necessary for optimum implementation to aerospace requirements.
- Ability to manufacture aerospace components using AM to TRL 6 or MCRL 4/5.
These new AM systems will be truly state-of-the-art research facilities for their respective AM process variants, and will be made available to UK industry, leveraging key expertise resident within the hosting research organisations. They will establish a fully quantifiable process that will place UK suppliers at the forefront of the technology and AM research. This will offer the UK aerospace sector access to next-generation manufacturing with a simplified, lower risk route to support AM's industrialisation and rapidly deploy into aircraft platforms. A substantial amount of results overspill onto other sectors (energy, marine, etc.) is also foreseen.
The project, which is supported by Innovate UK commenced on the 1 January 2018 and will run for three years.
Source and top image: TWI