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Manufacturing of a large-scale AM component

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MOnACO (Manufacturing of a large-scale AM component)

Reporting period: 2019-04-01 to 2020-09-30

The main goal of the project ‘MOnACO – Manufacturing of a large-scale AM component’ is to contribute to the Clean Sky 2 environmental goals by increasing efficiency and decreasing weight of engine components. In the project, the partners Autodesk, Hamburg University of Technology and Dresden University of Technology collaborate with the topic manager General Electric Deutschland Holding GmbH to design, manufacture and test engine frame components.

More specifically, the objectives are:
• Design, optimization and validation of large-scale nickel-based alloy turbine components suitable for direct metal laser melting (DMLM) process used for Additive Manufacturing (AM).
• Development of a multi-disciplinary optimization process to enhance thermal management while minimizing flow losses and component weight and cost.
• Assessment and optimization of the additive process through multiple manufacturing trials to locally control and improve hardware quality for key design features.
• Adaptation of the existing process chain to the demand of large-scale nickel-based alloy turbine components, including pre- and post-processing.
• Design and detailed thermal and flow testing of components optimized for AM.
• Proving Technology Readiness Level 4 of the components in a test environment matching the in use requirements.
Exploitation of additive manufacturing provides opportunities to reduce mass, assembly size, cost and increase performance. There are two major design requirements that consider structural loading and fluid dynamics. Autodesk has developed capabilities to simulate and optimise for both types of physical problems. The multi-physics approach to solving the problem is critical to allowing all parts of the structure to contribute to the stiffness and fluid flow performance. The efficiency of the structure was maximised by applying Autodesk Fusion 360 optimisation tools that could automate this process. The structure was optimised by generative design to combine Multiple parts were integrated in design which significantly reduce parts count with one single piece design, optimise the flow within the manifold to minimise pressure drop and attach the manifold to the case so that it can contribute to the stiffness.

Design for AM was also applied when creating this design. Careful consideration was given to thickness, aspect ratio, overhang angle, thickness change and trapped powder. Reducing the amount of supports required for the component would reduce the time spent processing the part following manufacturing. Before commencing with manufacturing Netfabb Simulation was used to assess the build for potential manufacturing issues. This tool will predict recoater interference, distortion and support failure. This information can then be used to modify the design or the build setup thus reducing risk and cost during manufacturing.

Following the simulation and design loops, two sub-segments in fully scaled made of the nickel-base alloy Inconel 718, were successfully produced by DMLM at Hamburg University of Technology. The manufactured components were geometrically measured using triangulation surveying techniques. The measurement results were then used to validate the simulation, and used as feedback for the next design loop.

Furthermore, the specimen designs for mechanical tests and emissivity measurements were adapted to project needs and printed. In preparation of aerothermal testing at Dresden University of Technology, inlet and outlet adapters as well as generic 3D printable sensor adapters have been developed and designed. The sensor positions for aerothermal validation of the optimized design have been defined based on CFD simulations.
With the current design, an assembly mass reduction of around 40% and a pressure drop reduction more than half of baseline design has been reached. In the second half of the project, there will be a number of further design iterations based on the physical data measurements with the opportunity to further reduce mass and improve performance of the component. Thus, with the introduction of DMLM to the manufacture of this and similar components, a significant reduction in emissions is expected.