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Feasibility demonstration of 3D printing for a new efficient production method of mm-wave waveGUIDE antenna

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - 3DGUIDE (Feasibility demonstration of 3D printing for a new efficient production method of mm-wave waveGUIDE antenna)

Período documentado: 2020-09-01 hasta 2021-06-30

Flight delays result in considerable losses for the air transportation industry. Since the problem is due mainly to low visibility, enhanced flight visibility systems are progressively being installed in civil aircraft to assist pilots to land under any visibility circumstances. The EU-funded 3DGUIDE project will bring together an interdisciplinary group of world-class experts in radio frequency and antennas to demonstrate a cost-effective production method for high-precision mm-wave waveguide antennas with additive manufacturing. 3DGUIDE proposes a novel approach for manufacturing W-band radar antennas used in Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS) to considerably reduce their production cost with a potential to also decrease radar weight.
The primary objective of the 3DGUIDE is the demonstration of an efficient and affordable production method for high precision mm-wave waveguide antennas. The selected manufacturing process, Laser Powder bed fusion (L-PBF), a metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology that has been optimized for high printing resolutions at CSEM, will be benchmarked against traditional manufacturing processes (i.e. machined) through the manufacturing, testing and comparison of printed antennas and antenna elements (e.g. waveguides) using both techniques.
D1.1 : ”Overview of mm-wave waveguide manufacturing methods”.
This report is the first deliverable of Work Package 1, which ultimate objective was to review waveguide manufacturing technologies including post-treatment. In addition to a waveguide performance, other parameters like cost, weight reduction, assembly process and thermal management were be evaluated. Focus was made on additive manufacturing technologies and more particularly on the selected technology: laser powder bed fusion. AM is a good candidate to produce antennas with complex 3D shapes (e.g. waveguide), reducing assembly steps and costs. The price is mostly driven by post-treatment and ideally, the solution should be based on a batch process to keep costs low.

- First waveguide structures samples have been prototyped at CSEM. Some primary designed antenna elements were printed in the aim of pre-evaluate the design limitations for the AM manufacturing process.

D2.1 : ” Complete specification for demonstrator”.
In this report detailed target antenna array parameters is provided. The report includes all the relevant information regarding the design and measurement of the demonstrator hardware including: the high-level system requirements, design of antenna prototype, selection of materials and the measurement specifications (test plan and test procedure).

D6.2 : ” Plan for the Communication and Dissemination"
Dissemination and communication task (Task 6.2) has the goal of identifying channels for the promotion of the project and the dissemination of the results in accordance with the confidentiality rules agreed in the present proposal.
It is foreseen that significant advancements will be made during the project: these results will be communicated through participation to meetings, trade shows and conferences, taking advantage of options for displaying functional demonstrators to the scientific and industrial community, and the publication of journal papers, taking advantage of existing open access agreements between the consortium institutions and reputable publishers. The goal of this plan is to maximize the impact of the results of the project.

D6.3 : ”Plan for the exploitation of results”
This report is the deliverable Plan for the exploitation of results which ultimate objective is to define the strategy to achieve the exploitation of the Research and Innovation results within the project 3DGUIDE and to involve users and stakeholders linked to radar sensors technologies in EFVS operations

D6.4 : ” Data Management Plan (DMP)”
3DGUIDE is not a data centric project as its goal is the demonstration of an efficient and affordable production method for high precision mm-wave waveguide antennas.
However, some data will be generated such as antenna array and antenna elements laboratory measurements and test data. In addition, the project will produce antenna design models and scientific publications. The present Data Management Plan lists the project data, indicates the project consortium data management policies, shows what data will be open and what will be restricted and according to which rules. Finally, this document presents the open and restricted data repositories used for the project.

- CSEM focus was on full chain process establishing for 3D printing technology.
Powder morphology
Powder size distribution
Chemical composition

3D Printing
Establish printing parameters (Scan velocity, laser power, powder bed thick.)
Quality assurance parts
Wave Guides

Post processing
Hot Isostatic Pressure (HIP)
Heat treatment
Surface finishing

- TTI has been focused on the following three activities:
-The design and optimization of the shorted vector array of eight slots centred at 94GHz with a uniform amplitude tapering. Two different models of this linear array have been manufactured employing traditional milling techniques. The difference between them is the employed Aluminum alloy that has been eployed for their fabrication.
-The design and optimization of the 1-to-8 distribution network to equally fed the set of linear arrays that will compose the final 2D radiating system. These component has been designed considering the measurements strategies to be used by UPM and the manufacturing limitations that the AM inherently brings.
-The design and optimization of the final bi-dimensional array of 64 elements fed by a corporate network. Combining the results of the two previous bullets, when the eight similar linear arrays are placed together, the phenomenom of mutual coupling between adjacent slots is strong and its effects must be mitigated as much as possible.

- UPM is prepared and tested measurement setup for the 3Dprinted antenna arrays characterisation.
The project targets validation in lab environment technology, which will take the TRL to 4. Although the technology will still need further development after or during the project to take it closer to the operational environment, the consortium strongly believes the technology has great potential and believes the results thereof can already have a large impact.

Nowadays, the manufacturing of this kind of components rely on the conventional milling and drilling techniques. However, during the last years the trend is to increase the frequency up to bands that the conventional manufacturing techniques may not be suitable due to the challenging tolerances and the demanded precission. Is in this point where additive manufacturing (AM) can play a very promising role, opening a vast field of opportunities in the RF and antennas world.

As expected results, the prototypes based on Additive manufacturing would be able to provide as good results as (or even better than) the traditional techniques at such high frequencies. As any other emerging technology, its study and analysis must be carefully driven to obtain valid conclussions to pave the future path to follow.
AM manufacturing comparisson table
2D antenna theoretical model
Comparisson table
3D model printing
Phase shifter concept
3D printed parts test
Antenna RF performance measurement setup block diagram