Our Raising your Game initiative presents experts from Majenta Solutions, our partners and inspiring, well-valued industry leaders to share experiences and knowledge to help our customers keep their companies relevant tomorrow and stay ahead of the competition, utilising best practice, innovation, collaborative partnerships, digital transformation and supply chain excellence.

Dr Sandeep Raja is Head of Business Development for Additive Manufacturing at GKN Aerospace Services. In the video below Sandeep discusses “How we can realise the value of Additive Manufacturing in the Aerospace industry.” Sandeep covers the key benefits of Additive Manufacturing, the challenges of adopting the technology and application examples.

GKN is 260 years old! Therefore they are not strangers to innovating, having to raise their game constantly over centuries. GKN started by producing cannonballs, then revolutionised steelworks, and now they are not only a Tier 1 supplier to the Aerospace Industry, but they manufacture driveline components for 80% of cars on the roads today, supply the world’s metallic powders for metal injection moulding and have produced an Additive Manufacturing department, which transcends across all business units within GKN.

 

GKN Aerospace Capabilities:

Thermoplastics

Thermoset Plastics

Joining Technology

Hard Metal Machining

Automated Manufacturing Processes (across a number of application areas)

They make big structures!

 

Additive Manufacturing (AM)

“We started off calling AM, 3DPrinting, where it was used for rapid prototyping, tooling and cladding. AM means using this technology to produce parts in our final platforms and final systems.”

There are two types of AM technology:

Powder bed = “in the box technology”. Where you have a chamber with a powder bed, it deposits the powder layer by layer and uses a heat source to create a melt pool, it solidifies and cools and then wipes a new layer. This technology is for small components with geometric complexity and for high-value materials.

Deposition = “out of the box technology”. Where a nozzle is used; either a powder or a wire feed, again with a laser or plasma heat source, the nozzle is attached to an articulated arm or a gantry. This technology is used for repair productions and producing big structures, which don’t fit into a powder bed and where the geometry isn’t complex.

 

AM and Aerospace

  • AM utilises 100% of the material. meaning we are reducing the “buy to fly” ratios = saves cost
  • Not restrained by the manufacturing process; opens up design freedom – stress optimised design, reduced the weight of structures
  • Reduce the number of assemblies
  • Add functionality to designs

Aero-engine

  • Faster uptake of AM
  • Consider other materials
  • Complex structures
  • Small structures
  • Add functionality
  • Reduce assemblies
  • Increase structural integrity
  • Reducing weight

Aero-structure

  • Free-form 35% cost saving from forging to deposition
  • Save 20% of the weight on large structures
  • Reduces cost significantly

 

Challenges

  • Invest smarter
  • Make quicker decision
  • Fail quicker – learn and make better investments

“We need to invest today to be ready for the future platforms”

Opportunities

  • AM market is predicted to be £20 billion by 2020 but Aerospace uptake not as fast
  • GE are producing a turboprop engine where 35% of parts are Additivitly manufactured, turning 100 components into 7-8 components.
  • GKN aero engines will use AM power bed technologies

“Every time we bid for a new program we consider whether additive manufacturing can solve the problems that we have today?”

Huge opportunity but not doing it today…barriers to entry

  • Immature technology – constantly evolving
  • How can we evaluate and validate parts
  • Powered material and post-processing costs are still high
  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Accreditation and Standardisation
  • Investment Cost
  • Large Infrastructure required

“This is a technology that requires real collaboration and partnerships to get off the ground”

 

 

 

 

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