CT investigates additive manufacturing processes using lasers for large aeronautical components


CT investigates additive manufacturing processes using lasers for large aeronautical components

This project reduces the amount of material needed to manufacture large pieces for the aeronautical sector by 30%. Additive manufacturing is one of the industrial processes that is leading the way in the European Union and Horizonte 2020

The research Project FADO develops an additive manufacturing technique that uses a laser application and is capable of reducing the amount of material required to manufacture components by 30%. The robotized cell that performs the additive manufacturing process can handle any geometrical form by making the addition with steady feed of material from a coil of aluminum wire. What’s more, it welds the material as it is added to the component. The robotized cell has a hybrid thread-powder head that allows it to be used in response to the geometrical needs of the component. This process is usually focused on the manufacturing of large dimension aeronautical elements, located in the fuselage and belly fairing of an airplane.  Manufacturing of the element is completed with machining.

This project required calculations using finite elements (FEM) and numerical control techniques to automate the robotic cell of additive manufacturing. For two years, three members of the consortium (CT, AIMEN and the University of La Coruña) have analyzed the particularities of the process to parameterize it and correlate the results with experimental data. Now it is finally possible to digitally model processes that until now were done manually.

These results open a window of opportunity to improve the production process and, in addition, reduce the amount of materials needed, the amount of waste produced, and the energy consumed in the process. This project is thereby aligned with one of the objectives of the aeronautical industry: to make industrial processes more environmentally friendly.

The FADO project consists of a consortium, led by CT, with the participation of the technological center AIMEN; The Galician companies Hydracorte, Syspro and Unimate; The Andalusian Airgrup; and the University of La Coruña (UDC) as a research center.

The development of advanced techniques for additive manufacturing is one of the objectives of the European Union’s plan, "Horizon 2020". This project is supported by the Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) with the funding of FEDER, and is supported by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness within the FEDER INNTERCONECTA Program of 2015.