The Starting Position

Turning Point: Alternative Manufacturing Methods

Titanium is widely applied in the aerospace industry. Its excellent corrosion resistance and optimal mechanical properties speak for themselves.

Because of the high cost of titanium and the inability to further process it, great efforts are being made to find alternative manufacturing methods in order to reduce costs.

Additive manufacturing allows for structural components to be “printed”, which leads to a decentralization of the production process.  This leads to saving logistics and storage costs. In addition, the printing process can, for the most part, take place on location.

The Project Initiatives

Technological Background of the Network

  • Bionic Structures and appropriate AM Design
    Implementing bionic structures and achieving desired characteristics in aircraft construction such as multifunctionality, modular and hierarchical setups, adaptive and non-toxic properties, etc. are still in their infancy. Which components come into question for a bionic structure under AM design, what requirements arise as a result in the manufacturing process and whether the implemented components meet the stringent guidelines and legislation of the aircraft industry are issues that require clarification.
  • Online Process Monitoring / Quality Assurance
    The major objective of online process monitoring is to develop forward-looking process regulations that enable a timely intervention in the production process at only marginal failure rates. In addition, standardized quality criteria to guarantee reproducibility as well as batch purity for additive manufactured components do not exist yet.
  • Automated Processing of Additive Manufactured Components
    After the AM process, the manufactured components are manually taken out of the printers. They are cleared of any remaining powder or irregularities. Robots could be used here to equip the system and to rework the additive manufactured components. 
  • Recycling Concepts
    The greatest technological challenges in the area of recycling consist of achieving a pure downcycling, i.e. the reapplication of scrap titanium in the form of powder for the manufacture of new, highest quality components by means of AM.
  • Planning Industrial Factory Layouts
    The technical and technological challenges of the additive series manufacturing of structural components for aircraft construction, the associated requirements, framework conditions and proposed solutions have a considerable influence on future industrial factory layouts.