GKN Aerospace is coming up with a titanium powder to use in additive manufacturing for their aerospace components.
The GKN-led consortium that is in charge of the development of TiPOW (which stands for Titanium Powder for net-shape component manufacture) will try to find a way to produce the powder in bigger quantities and at a cheaper price.
GKN Aerospace Engineering and Technology division’s senior vice-president Russ Dunn said:
"We believe AM has the potential to revolutionize the design and manufacture of aircraft, unlocking innovations in low drag, high-performance wing designs and lighter, even more efficient engine systems that will dramatically improve airframe performance and reduce noxious emissions and noise."
The program will begin with developing titanium alloys and powders that can be used for additive manufacturing, and will later create methods to produce the AM-designed materials at lower costs.
Additive manufacturing basically means they are printing 3D designs of metallic parts, built up in layers from powdered metal. It is different from normal manufacturing in the sense that it is built up piece by piece, rather than having swathes of material taken away from billets or castings.
“TiPOW will give us a better understanding and insight into improving airplane performance and will undoubtedly deliver more technological advances to the industry. This program highlights the capabilities of the UK aerospace, promotes healthy competition and will lay the groundwork for even more innovation," added UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute chief executive Gary Elliott.
Some of the benefits of using additive manufacturing is that it is very energy-efficient and has a high raw material-to-product conversion rate. It also eliminates the need to design bespoke tooling, and can reproduce highly complex geometries with little to no hassle.
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