Laser Additive Layer Manufacturing of tiles in various nickel superalloys has been demonstrated at TRL4. Considerable investment has been made in developing materials data for the processes of record employed on the current generation of equipment, however this equipment is for general purpose prototyping and is not capable of high volume, low cost production of flight parts.
The objective of this project is to develop a second generation machine suitable for low cost manufacture while maintaining process equivalence to the current processes of record. This will be achieved by the use of multiple lasers to address a larger build envelope and will otherwise be in line with the capability requirements stated in the topic call.
The Participants will first agree the requirements for the machine with the Topic Manager. From this a functional specification will be developed, embodying the essential design concepts to be realised. A test rig will be constructed and operated in order to explore methods for controlling the overlap areas between laser fields. An alpha system will be designed, constructed and tested in accordance with the functional specification and incorporating the learning from the test rig. A subsequent prototype machine, being a development of the alpha machine, will be designed built & tested prior to installation in a representative production environment. Validation testing will be performed on this machine in order to establish (1) metallurgical equivalence to the current processes of record, (2) accuracy, in particular in overlap regions, (3) system reliability and (4) cost of ownership metrics.
Call for proposal
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