Horizon project gaining momentum

Posted on 21 Apr 2016 and read 1693 times
Horizon project gaining momentumThe Horizon (AM) project — a £13.4 million R&D programme that aims to develop additive manufacturing (AM) techniques into viable production processes for aerospace parts — chose Delcam’s Birmingham headquarters for its fourth meeting.

The GKN (www.gkn.com) Aerospace-led consortium includes Delcam (www.delcam.co.uk), Renishaw (www.renishaw.com) and the Universities of Sheffield (www.sheffield.ac.uk) and Warwick (www2.warwick.ac.uk), with backing from the Aerospace Technology Institute (www.ati.org.uk) and Innovate UK (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/innovate-uk). It is working towards achieving a process qualification level of TRL 6 — the prototype stage of product development — using metal powder bed fusion technology with Inconel 718 and Ti-64.

Project leader Tim Hope updated the group about the GKN Aerospace team’s latest studies using various additive-manufacturing machines, one of which was supplied by Renishaw. With support from the two universities, the team is developing quality assurance documents in an attempt to standardise materials, production processes and product quality standards.

Mr Hope said: “Before you industrialise a process, you need to have a simple work-flow in place, and that is the challenge we are currently dealing with. The robust and mature supply chains that aerospace organisations are used to dealing with don’t exist yet in the additive realm, and that’s a real stumbling block that we have to overcome.”

GKN Aerospace is looking to Delcam to develop its PartBuilder software within the context of additive-manufacturing work-flows, combining the geometrical freedom offered by AM with the surface finish and accuracy provided by subtractive manufacturing.

The partners were given a tour of Delcam’s Advanced Manufacturing Facility, where a number of demonstrator parts were being machined on a Mazak Variaxis 630 5X. The machining of these components is helping the consortium to identify the best work-flow and the requirements for future enhancements to PartBuilder.

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