Airbus, Sigma Labs partner on test, evaluation program

Departments - 3D/Additive Manufacturing

MT Aerospace, Oerlikon AM partner, to offer aerospace additive manufacturing solutions; Boeing approves Hexcel’s HexAM process, PEKK material; Morf3D obtains additional funding from Boeing; KAM obtains key industry certifications.

September 26, 2019

PrintRight3D screen showing the meltpool during turbine manufacturing.

Airbus is testing and evaluating Sigma Labs Inc.’s PrintRite3D version 5.0 hardware and software, with plans for a validation phase on a powder bed fusion printer.

Sigma Labs will provide the PrintRite3D In-Process Quality Assurance (IPQA) system and services – hardware, software, training, engineering, and metallurgical consulting and support – to demonstrate their ability to monitor and characterize material, machine process, and production consistency and repeatability of additive manufacturing (AM) operations. IPQA ensures process quality by identifying process defect thermal signatures.

Sigma Labs chairman and CEO John Rice says the software allows users to rapidly qualify a metal AM machine for serial production, and during continuous production runs, to warn process engineers of signature precursors of process discontinuities with actionable data to restore the process. PrintRite3D provides melt pool dynamics information that can improve process consistency.

From left: Christian Hackenberg, senior vice president strategy, MT Aerospace; Marco Fuchs, CEO OHB SE; Michael Süss, president of the board of directors Oerlikon AM; Hans Steininiger, CEO MT Aerospace AG.

MT Aerospace, Oerlikon AM partner, to offer aerospace additive manufacturing solutions

Oerlikon AM and MT Aerospace are partnering to accelerate the use of additively manufactured (AM) parts in aerospace and defense.

MT Aerospace’s heritage in designing highly stressed, lightweight metal structures and Oerlikon’s materials, design, 3D-printing, and post-processing capabilities offer synergies between construction/design, manufacturing, and part inspection and qualification.

“The two partner companies cover the entire value chain from component design and manufacturing to testing and qualification,” says Hans J. Steininger, CEO of MT Aerospace AG, a subsidiary of Bremen, Germany-based OHB SE aerospace company. “We can offer customers a one-stop-shop solution from product specification to the finished, qualified part.”

“Through this partnership, we look forward to continuing to lead innovation and digitization trends in the aerospace industry by accelerating and scaling up the process from concept to operational delivery,” says Dr. Michael Süss, chairman of the board of directors of Oerlikon.

The combined expertise and technical capabilities of the companies will work to address the industry’s most difficult and disruptive challenges – improved efficiency and safety at lower cost.

Boeing approves Hexcel’s HexAM process, PEKK material

Boeing has approved Hexcel Corp.’s poly-ether-ketone-ketone (PEKK) and carbon fiber material formulation, HexPEKK-100, for commercial aircraft components.

HexPEKK-100 and Hexcel’s HexAM selective laser sintering (SLS) additive manufacturing (AM) process are now obtainable through Boeing’s Qualified Provider List (QPL).

HexPEKK components will be manufactured-to-print for commercial aerospace applications where complexity, weight reduction, and strong mechanical performance are critical. HexPEKK-100 parts meet interior aircraft smoke and toxicity requirements and can be used for complex components such as brackets, environmental control system ducts, and castings.

Morf3D obtains additional funding from Boeing

El Segundo, California-based metals additive manufacturing (AM) company Morf3D Inc. has obtained a new round of funding from Boeing HorizonX Ventures.

“Our latest strategic investment in Morf3D extends our commitment to our Industry 4.0 efforts – technologies that can transform aerospace supply chains for future growth and competitiveness,” says Brian Schettler, Boeing HorizonX Ventures’ senior managing director.

Morf3D helps clients develop, qualify, and manufacture highly complex structures for flight, serving aerospace companies including Boeing, Honeywell, and Collins Aerospace.

Morf3D recently expanded its AM footprint, increasing its investment in precision machining technology and doubling its workforce with engineering, quality, and support staff.

According to Morf3D Founder and CEO Ivan Madera, the company leverages customer engagement and collaboration to create outcomes that accelerate adoption and certification of AM flight hardware.

“We don’t sell parts in the traditional sense. We sell a process that evokes certainty,” Madera says.

The company uses state-of-the-art software combined with engineering expertise to reduce mass, while increasing performance and functionality of manufactured parts.

KAM obtains key industry certifications

Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing (KAM) has obtained ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certifications for achieving strict aerospace and defense quality standards.

The certification process often takes a year or more to complete. KAM founder and CEO Brad Keselowski, a professional stock car driver, completed the process with his team in less than six months.

“When we started the business, we knew one day we would need to have these essential certifications under our belt to do the level of work envisioned with KAM,” Keselowski says.

“Combined with our in-house metallurgical laboratory, metrology, digital radiography, and hybrid manufacturing capabilities, we have a wide spectrum of resources available to service our customers’ needs,” says KAM Director of Operations Jim Thompson.

The company’s plans for Q4 2019 include completing a state-of-the-art engineering center and adding additional staff.